Waves tennis’s Savannah Broadus named Player of the Week after downing top player in a rowdy atmosphere

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Pepperdine's Savannah Broadus was named West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Week for the fourth time after a big win over Oklahoma State's Ange Oby Kajuru, the second-ranked singles player in the nation. Photo by Justin Choi

She rallies from first-set loss to defeat Oklahoma State’s Ange Oby Kajuru in front of loud Cowgirls fans

Pepperdine women’s tennis player Savannah Broadus lost the first set in her match against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls’ Ange Oby Kajuru, the second-ranked singles player in the nation, on Feb. 3 at the Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Broadus, ranked 21st at the time, was battling Oby Kajuru in the second set — nearly matching her serve for serve — but with every point Oby Kajuru scored, the rowdy, festive Oklahoma State supporters that dominated the stadium’s 350 seats cheered. 

Instead of bowing her Waves visor-adorned head, Broadus, now rated sixth, fed on the crowd’s intense zeal. 

“I love that type of energy,” she said. “It makes it more exciting. I felt myself finding my range and finding what I need to do. The atmosphere was great. Rather than focusing on points I was playing and what I was doing, I enjoyed being out there.” 

That energy boost powered Broadus’ racket swinging and overall play into winning the second set and then dominating the third to win the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-0. It is the highest-ranked singles win of her career. 

The victory led to Broadus capturing the West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Week award three days later. Broadus said winning the weekly honor a fourth time is a good feeling.

Savannah Broadus. Photo by Justin Choi
Pepperdine’s Savannah Broadus was named West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Week for the fourth time after a big win over Oklahoma State’s Ange Oby Kajuru, the second-ranked singles player in the nation. Photo by Justin Choi

“It is nice to be acknowledged for winning a pretty tough match,” said Broadus before reciting a motivational quote from Bruce Lee. “But of course, happy but never satisfied.” 

She has won the WCC Doubles Team of the Week award 10 times with her partner, senior Janice Tjen. 

This is the third time this season a Wave has won the Singles Player of the Week. Graduate student Lisa Zaar won it on Jan. 16 and Jan. 30. 

In her match against Oby Kajuru, Broadus broke the stalemate in the second set when she took a 6-5 lead. She then won the first three points off her serve in the next game before Oby Kajuru won her first point. Broadus smashed an ace near the center service line to win the set 7-5.

Broadus dominated the final set. She went up a break in the second game. In the third game, Broadus broke her opponent with forehand winner on a deuce point to take a 3-0 advantage before securing the victory. 

Broadus said, “After every point I lost, OSU was loud. I thought, ‘OK, I’m not going to lose any points then.’”

Broadus lost to Oby Kajuru in the Freeman Memorial Championships in Las Vegas in January. She said heading into the rematch that she just wanted to perform better. 

“I was focusing on everything we had been working on in practice,” Broadus recalled. 

Broadus and her Pepperdine teammates play in front of modest crowds when they host opponents at the Ralph-Straus Tennis Center on Pepperdine’s campus. When they take the court on the campuses of bigger schools such as USC, UCLA, or Texas, the attitude of the onlookers is a more feverish.

“They cheer blatantly against you,” Broadus explained. “Some people don’t like it, but I’ve learned to enjoy it and feed off of it.” 

Pepperdine was defeated by the Texas Longhorns in the super regionals of the NCAA Championships. The contest was at the Longhorns’ Texas Tennis Center in Austin. 

Broadus said that was the rowdiest crowd in which she has swung a tennis racket. 

“Texas people know how to cheer, that’s for sure,” said Broadus, a native of Carrollton, Texas. “I grew up with it.” 

Pepperdine lost the team match to Oklahoma State 4-2. The Waves were defeated by Virginia on Feb. 9 by the same score in their first of three contests in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle. 

The next day, they beat California 4-2. Broadus defeated Cal’s Jessica Alsola 6-3, 6-4. Broadus and Tjen downed Mao Mushika and Hannah Viller Moeller 6-2 in doubles. 

The Waves wrapped up its three-match stint at the ITA tournament with a 4-2 win over #16 USC on Sunday afternoon. 

Broadus defeated 20th-ranked Emma Charney 6-3, 6-3 in that one as five Pepperdine singles players posted wins. She also teamed with Tjen to defeat Charney and Eryn Cayetano 4-2 in a match that was stopped after USC had clinched the doubles point with wins in the other two matches.

Broadus said Pepperdine has had challenges this season, but she is looking forward to the group improving throughout the season, which stretches until late April. 

“I try not to be too results-oriented,” Broadus explained. “I really want to focus on every time I step on the court, leaving it all out there with no regrets. No matter if I win or lose, I want to have done what I was supposed to.”