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Parkinson decisive on court

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One moment it's yes; the next no. It depends, says Holly Parkinson, on the particular day.

She thinks of her two sisters - Christy, the elder, and Kelly, the younger - and how she'd like to return to BYU to be with them for one school year. But then she has a day like Wednesday, and she leans toward the pro tennis circuit.School, pros, school, pros . . . "That's the way it goes, and I just don't know," she said as she rested in the shade at the Snowbird Canyon Racquet Club.

A wildcard entry in the Bank One Challenger of Salt Lake women's pro tennis tournament, Parkinson, ranked around 300 in world tennis, upset Lorina Woodroffe of Great Britain in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. Woodroffe came into the event ranked 149th.

Although both players had their tentative moments, there was little doubt Parkinson was in control most of the way. She lost service to go down 3-4 in the first set but broke back to 4-all. She held at 5-4, then broke for the set on the second of three set points.

The second set went about the same. She broke to go up 5-3 but then turned tentative and lost service on a double fault. In the 10th game Parkinson had three match points, but each time Woodroffe answered with out-and-out winners to stop her.

"I told myself I wasn't going to think about losing the opportunity. It hurt me before, but I wasn't going to let it happen here. I went out and served a good game and just forgot about it," she said very matter-of-factly.

She went up 40-15 in the 11th game, then served an ace to hold service. Twice in the final game Woodroffe held advantage, but Parkinson came through with winners. Finally, facing her fourth match point, Woodroffe made it easy by double faulting, one of the few times she'd done it.

"It's a good win for me, especially since I was so nervous. I don't know why, I guess it was because so many people had come to watch me play. It's better I got it over with, now I won't be so nervous tomorrow," she said.

As a freshman last year at BYU, Parkinson played No. 1 singles and helped lead the Y. into the Top 10 and the NCAA Round of 16.

She was recognized then as one of tennis' up-and-coming stars.

BYU women's coach Clark Barton called her one of the best in the country, "definitely pro material. Yes, I'd like to see her come back for another year. Without her we'll be a good team; with her we'll be a great team. But, I want what's best for her. It's her call."

Her call is, and has been since she started tennis back in Houston, to eventually be a professional.

She realizes, however, that at age 19 she has some learning to do.

"I wouldn't go right into the pros, I'd play a year as an amateur. That would also leave some option open. If I didn't like the pressures of the tour I could always come back and go to school," she said.

"Being in the pros, though, is something I've always wanted to try. But then I'd like to come back to BYU, play tennis and be with my sisters. We're very close. I don't know, I really don't."

Thursday she will face a formidable challenge in No. 2 seed Samantha Smith of Great Britain. A week ago, Parkinson took Smith to three sets. She won the first set but admitted she got tentative and lost the next two, 6-4, 6-4.

"Holly plays better against players she's played before. I think she knows she can beat Smith. At this stage she's got to learn that when she's ahead, like she was a week ago, she can win. It all comes with experience," explained Barton.

Wednesday, Smith beat Alicia Ortuno of Spain, 6-2, 6-1.

In the only other match with local flavor, Ruth Ann (Stevens) Escobido and Julie (Kempin) Coles of Salt Lake City lost in the opening round of doubles to Maureen Drake of Canada and Jessica Steck of South Africa, 6-3, 6-1. Both Escodibo and Coles played at the University of Utah.

On opening day there were no major upsets. Top-seeded Marianne de Swardt of South Africa beat Jing Quian Yi of China, 6-3, 6-1; No. 3 seed Cara Black of Zimbabwe beat Irina Selyutina of Kazakhstan, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5; No. 5 seed Sandra Kleinova of the Czech Republic beat Jill Craybas of East Greenwich, R.I., 6-3, 6-4; and No. 6 Karin Miller of Bradenton, Fla., beat Daphne van de Zande of Belgium, 6-2, 6-1.

The tournament, which began last Friday with pre-qualifying, followed by two days of qualifying, is second only to the major tour. Several players from this event will receive automatic seats in the U.S. Open in New York.

Matches will begin each day at 10 a.m. with the final match no earlier than 5 p.m. Semifinals are Saturday, the finals Sunday. Tickets are $5 at the door, with the semis $7 and finals $10.