MALIBU, Calif. – Thursday’s matches at the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters at Pepperdine University and Malibu Racquet Club commenced with the first round of mixed doubles matches, and then continued with men’s and women’s singles before rounding out the day with more mixed doubles matches.
This is the first year that the tournament hosted mixed doubles, and players, coaches and fans backed their teammates from the start, even when all four players attended separate universities. All three women from Pepperdine won their opening round singles matches, dropping only five games among their Thursday matches.
In the opening round of mixed, top-seeded Jasmine Lee of Mississippi State and Arthur Rinderknech from Texas A&M overcame a relentless Quinnipiac team of Sitilia Rencheli and Kei Ezaka by a score of 7-6. The No. 2 duo of Ena Shibahara and Martin Redlicki from UCLA handled their opponents of Marine Cartier from Alabama State and Alex Chepik from Bethune-Cookman 6-1. The No. 1 women’s singles seed, Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine) and No. 1 men’s singles seed, Yuya Ito (Texas), also held notable wins in their first round mixed matches before taking on their singles opponents. Stefani paired with teammate Guilherme Hadlich for the tournament while Ito and Oklahoma State’s Viktoriya Lushkova teamed together.
Singles action quickly got underway, and the Waves of Pepperdine ruled their home courts. Top-seeded Stefani earned a routine victory and outplayed Rencheli 6-1, 6-0. Stefani looked to attack from all angles of the court against the lefty from Quinnipiac, and she will face Ksenia Laskutova from Tulsa on Friday.
Pepperdine’s No. 4 Ashley Lahey showcased her shots on court three with a deciding victory over Boston’s Sabrina Faybyshev 6-1, 6-0. Her consistently deep shots took time away from her opponent en route to the Round of 16. Lahey matches up against Penn’s Kana Daniel tomorrow after her three-set win over Rice’s Katherine Ip.
Tulsa’s Laskutova wore out Marianna Petrei of Idaho on Thursday in three sets by a score of 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. With quite the turn of events, the junior from Tulsa utilized her weapons to outlast Petrei, whose defense ultimately kept her in the match until the final points.
For the men, No. 4 Ryan Penniston from Memphis started the afternoon off strong when he knocked off Army’s Michael Nguyen 6-2, 6-4. Penniston rolled through the first set but endured a tougher fight from Nguyen in the second. The man in blue served up a break at 5-4 and finessed a drop shot to take the match. He faces Columbia’s Shawn Hadavi tomorrow in the Round of 16.
Arthur Rinderknech battled Bethune-Cookman’s Alex Chepik in today’s first round match, coming out on top 6-2, 6-2. The third seed from Texas A&M meets Old Dominion’s Adam Moundir tomorrow. Today’s match featured fierce forehands and quick movement from Rinderknech.
Pepperdine’s Hadlich and Jeffrey Schorsch of Valparaiso rallied late into the day in a grueling three-set match. Hadlich served down 2-5 at deuce to stay in the match. For Schorsch, he stepped up to the line to serve out the match and ultimately defeated Hadlich on his home court 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. He looks to the Round of 16 on Friday against No 2. Ryotaro Matsumura of Kentucky.
Round of 16 mixed doubles matches rounded out the day, leaving the final eight teams heading into Friday. The top two seeded teams are among this group, along with No. 5 Hayley Carter of North Carolina and partner Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech. The pair rolled through their second round match 6-0. Pepperdine’s Stefani and Hadlich enter Friday’s quarterfinals after finishing off the final match of Thursday evening 7-6 (4) against Idaho’s Petrei and Portland State’s Boneil.
-No. 2 Shibahara overcame Cartier 6-1, 6-1 in her opening round and faces Gabriela Porubin from Wichita State tomorrow.
-No. 5 Carter defended her ground against Ariadna Blinova of Akron 6-4, 6-2.
-Pepperdine’s Laura Gulbe held her own at home against Denver’s Julia O’Loughlin 6-0, 6-4.
-No. 3 Sara Daavetilla of North Carolina came out victorious in her singles match against Fairleigh Dickinson’s Shreya Pasricha 6-0, 6-1.
-No. 1 Ito finds himself into the Round of 16 after a 6-4, 6-2 win over Quinnipiac’s Ezaka.
-Georgia Tech’s Eubanks, seeded 6th, came back to win in three sets against UC Davis’ Alec Adamson by a score of 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. He faces William Bushamuka of Kentucky tomorrow.
You can view the complete draws, schedule of events, daily recaps, photo gallery link and other information on the Oracle ITA Masters event page. Live scoring will be available for all Junior Masters and Masters matches, while FloTennis will provide live streaming coverage from both Pepperdine University and Malibu Racquet Club, showcasing up to four courts at Pepperdine and two at Malibu Racquet Club. Click here to sign up for the subscription-based service and view the matches.
The Oracle ITA Junior Masters – Powered by UTR, features 16 boys and 16 girls from across the country. Players earned their trips to Malibu, California, by competing in Oracle ITA Junior Masters regional events, or were offered a wildcard invitation. Oracle ITA Junior Masters matches get underway on Friday and conclude on Sunday morning at Malibu Racquet Club with the boys and girls final. No-ad scoring will be utilized during the tournament. You can view the list of competitors on the Oracle ITA Masters event page.