published Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Vanderbilt pals vie in Tennessee Valley Open Championships final

Down a set in his men's open singles match Saturday, Ryan Lipman decided to take a risk that, should it pay off, could propel him to the final of the Tennessee Valley Open Championships.

It didn't pay immediate dividends, but he was able to reach his goal.

Lipman rallied to defeat John Collins in three sets to advance to this morning's TVOC championship match at Manker Patten. He will face Vanderbilt teammate Gonzales Austin, who dispatched David Hopkins in straight sets.

The women's open final will pit Alabama sophomore Emily Zabor against Nashville high schooler Sydney Campbell. Zabor beat former Ole Miss standout Connor Vogel in straight sets, while Campbell defeated North Carolina sophomore Caroline Price in three sets.

After dropping a first set in a tiebreaker, Lipman decided to become more aggressive and take more chances. It paid off as he won the final two sets by 6-4 scores.

"When I got down a set and a break, I decided that what I was doing was not working if I wanted to win," said Lipman, who will be a senior at Vandy. "Luckily, that risk paid off."

Austin won 6-2, 6-1 over Hopkins, who plays at Wake Forest.

Zabor won in consolation singles last season, as well as in doubles. This year she has her eyes set on the big title after defeating Vogel 6-2, 6-2.

"My teammates and coaches at Alabama have had me so prepared that I knew I was going to play my best," Zabor said. "I knew that if I played my best and was still beat, it would be all right.

"Connor is a consistent player that makes you work hard. I thought I played very consistently and waited for the right ball to take my chances."

Campbell needed three sets to defeat 2011 finalist Price 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Campbell's punctuation on the match came at 4-2, 40-15, when she ripped a crosscourt backhand past Price.

"That was just an athletic shot that I went for and hoped I'd make it," Campbell said. "I came out and played well in the first set, but she picked up her play in the second. I started making some errors and allowed her to build her confidence, so I had to go back to playing like I did in the first and go take the match because she wasn't going to give it to me."

Campbell will be doing triple duty today. She is in the doubles final with Central Florida freshman Clare Mendell and in the mixed doubles final with Georgia sophomore Casey Kay.

Price, who finished runner-up in women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles last season, is in the two doubles finals today. The University of Tennessee's Hunter Reese, who was a finalist in men's doubles and mixed doubles last season, is in two finals today, as is Kay.

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