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Nazari defends title at La Costa

Nazari Urbina
Nazari Urbina gains wildcard entry via the Mercury Insurance Open opportunity tournament.

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From Press Services

LA COSTA Calif.-- (July 18, 2011) – Top-seeded Nazari Urbina of Tijuana overcame warm conditions and a young opponent to win the Mercury Insurance Open Presented by Tri-City Medical Center Opportunity Tournament at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club for the second consecutive year.

     The 22-year-old Urbina, currently No.816 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, received a wild card into the qualifying draw of the Mercury Insurance Open, which begins July 30 at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad.

     In the Opportunity Tournament final, which took place on Sunday, July 17, Urbina faced third-seeded Christina Makarova, a 15-year-old San Diegan who is ranked 43 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings. After losing the opening set, Makarova won the second set and took a 4-1 lead in the third set. As she led 5-3, Makarova experienced leg cramps and took a medical time-out.

     She continued to play, but when Urbina came back and tied the set at 5-5, Makarova retired from the match, giving Urbina the victory, 6-3, 3-6, 5-5, ret.

     “As a tennis player, you don’t want to win tennis matches like that,” Urbina said after Makarova retired from the championship match. “I’m glad I’m coming back to play again (in the qualifying) at La Costa. It’s a great opportunity for me and my career and it’s going to be a great experience.”

     In last year’s qualifying draw at the Mercury Insurance Open, Urbina fell to American Coco Vandeweghe, 6-2, 6-1, in the first round, but the Tijuana resident feels the experience helped her improve her game in the last year.

     “Ever since I played that tournament, I’ve been thinking about the things I need to work on. This year I feel better. I feel stronger and faster on the court. Tennis-wise I just feel in better shape,” said Urbina, who will start her junior year at Texas A&M in late August.

     Urbina will join Stacey Tan of Lakewood, who won the Pacific Palisades Opportunity Tournament, and San Diegan Zoe Sandalis, the Opportunity Tournament champion in Laguna Niguel, as wild cards in the Mercury Insurance Open qualifying draw.

     “The Mercury Insurance Open is very happy to award a wild card into the tournament qualifying draw to each of these well-deserving players. Tan, Scandalis and Urbina all played very tough matches to win their respective Opportunity Tournament titles this summer,” said Raquel Giscafre, Mercury Insurance Open tournament director. “The high quality of play in all three Opportunity events was outstanding. We look forward to seeing these three players in what is sure to be an exciting and very competitive weekend of qualifying in Carlsbad,” Giscafre added.

     The 2011 Mercury Insurance Open field will be highlighted by two-time defending US Open champion and reigning Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters, former world #1 Ana Ivanovic, current world #3 Vera Zvonareva, 2010 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2010 runner up Agnieszka Radwanska and other top stars on the WTA Tour including Daniela Hantuchova, Flavia Pennetta, Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges, Coco Vandeweghe, Christina McHale and Melanie Oudin.

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