Melounova Moves On In NCAA Singles Championship
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Hawai‘i freshman Petra Melounova won her first round match in the NCAA Tennis Women’s Singles Championships with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 decision over Texas A&M’s Rachel Pierson on Wednesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Melounova is the first victorious Big West women’s player in the NCAA singles competition since Long Beach State’s Jing Chen in 1998.
She advanced to Thursday’s second round where she will face LSU’s Joana Valle Costa at 6:00 a.m. (PT). Melounova is just the third individual in history to be named both Big West Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season.
Melounova battled not only the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s 16th-ranked player – and nationally seeded – Pierson, she dealt with inclement weather. She kept her focus through a 30-minute lightning delay and two rain delays to grit out the win.
The first player in UH history to record an NCAA Women’s Singles victory, she sweated out a tough first set to win in a tiebreaker. Melounova took a 2-0 lead in the tiebreaker, then traded points with Pierson until gutting out the 7-5 victory.
She began the second set by taking a commanding 4-0 lead on the Aggies’ No. 1 singles player. But Pierson battled back to trim the deficit to 4-3. Melounova responded with a break of Pierson’s serve and then served out the match.
Melounova, ranked No. 70 by the ITA, will battle the 46th-ranked Valle Costa, who took care of Oklahoma’s Lily Miyazaki, 6-4, 6-3, in her first round match.
NCAA WOMEN’S TENNIS SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP
DAN MAGILL TENNIS COMPLEX • ATHENS, GA.
No. 70 Petra Melounova (Hawai‘i) def. No. 16 Rachel Pierson (Texas A&M) – 7-6 (5), 6-3