Grace (left) and Amy Lin faced off in the Tennis On Campus Southern California Sectionals and could meet again in the Tennis On Campus National Championship.
© USTA Southern California
By Sarah Houseknecht, special to USTA.com
Grace and Amy Lin insist that when they aren’t competing against each another, that they are the other’s biggest cheerleader. Yet the talented tennis sisters, only one year apart in age, may find themselves on opposite sides of the net once more at the 2013 Tennis On Campus National Championship.
If that happens, then it’s time for Venus and Serena to move over. John and Jim Harbaugh, step aside. The next great sibling rivalry in sports may very well be on display at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz., this April.
At the TOC Southern California Sectionals, the girls faced off in a nail-biting final in mixed doubles. Amy and her fellow UC San Diego Tritons went into mixed doubles down by two games but rallied to win the set, 6-4, putting them in a tie with Grace and the UCLA Bruins after five sets.
Mark Otten, UCLA team captain, said the girls’ father sat in the stands as more of a neutral spectator than a rowdy fan. Otten added: "It all sort of reminded me of this year’s Super Bowl, with both [Harbaugh] brothers coaching against each other."
In the end, UCLA proved to be too much to handle for their SoCal opponents, winning the match in a super tie-break.
"After the match they hugged and their dad was watching and cheering them both on," said UCSD team captain Leeann Hsueh. "It was a very civil match but very intense."
For their part, the girls say that any on-court conflict through TOC is all in good fun and has actually brought them closer as sisters.
"It gets intense because we know each other’s game," said Amy, a freshman heading to her first National Championship. "We are both pretty chill. Both teams are good sports and the points are really clean."
"We’ve practiced together since I was 12," said Grace, a sophomore. "We know each other’s weaknesses and where the other would hit. It made the match really interesting. There were some tense moments, but we had a lot of fun on and off the court.
"We both have a lot of fun with the sport. Being at different schools, we normally only see each other over breaks. Tennis On Campus has allowed me to catch up with her every few weeks. Our dad comes and watches too, so it’s usually like a mini family reunion."
Earlier this month the girls competed in the California Cup, this time as teammates in an All-Star match. The showdown between USTA Northern California and Southern California gave them an opportunity to pair up in the women’s doubles and represent their section. The Lin sisters won their set, though NorCal ultimately went on to win the match.
"It was a lot of fun for us to play together," said Amy. "We don’t get to do that often."
UCSD is looking forward to taking another shot at their SoCal adversaries, who are seeking their own bit of redemption: UCLA won it all in 2011, but fell during pool play last year at Nationals, missing out on the tournament’s prestigious Gold Bracket.
The 64-team competition begins on Thursday, April 11. Follow TennisOnCampus.com for results as they happen and USTA.com for feature stories, team profiles and more.