MALIBU, Calif. – There weren’t many surprises to start the week at the 2017 Oracle ITA Masters. Top-seeded Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest and Ena Shibahara of UCLA rolled through first round matches in their respective draws in the ITA national event hosted by Pepperdine University and Malibu Racquet Club.
Chrysochos, ranked third in the Oracle ITA National Preseason Singles Rankings, powered through the first set against Bryant’s Matt Kuhar to win 6-2. Kuhar challenged the Larnaca, Cyprus, native in the second set, but Chrysochos would prevail for a 7-5 victory to advance in the men’s singles draw after winning all four of his game points and won 3-of-5 break points.
Chrysochos appeared to feel right at home, despite this being his first time playing in Malibu.
“This is a beautiful place, so I’m really excited to play here,” said Chrysochos. “It’s my first time playing in this tournament. I’m excited; also mixed doubles, that’s a new experience. It was pretty fun this morning. There are a lot of good players here and I know most of the guys, so it should be a fun experience.”
Defending champion Shibahara did not mess around in her first round match against Quinnipiac’s Jennifer Lu. The Rancho Palos Verdes, California native served up two aces and won all five of her break points to win 6-1, 6-1 over Lu, advancing to the second round of the women’s singles draw.
Lily Miyazaki of Oklahoma and Anna Sanford of Ohio State played the opening matches at Malibu Racquet Club. Miyazaki served up a two-set victory against Dartmouth’s Kristina Mathis, capitalizing on a handful of double faults by Mathis to take the match, 6-2, 6-4.
“It was really great playing here and it was my first time playing here,” said Mayazaki. “I thought it was a really good first round for me and the first round is always tough. I just did all I needed to do to win. I wanted to play my game and get used to the courts.”
Sanford followed suit in her match, finishing off Nevada’s Claudia Herrero Garcia, 6-2, 6-1. On playing her first round at MRC, Sanford was grateful to play in such a scenic place.
“It’s pretty nice, this facility is beautiful,” said Sanford. “I feel like I played pretty well today and I’m just really happy to be here.
Arizona State’s Michael Geerts and Benjamin Hannestad each won their matches in the men’s singles draw to claim their first-ever collegiate tennis victories, and first program wins for the Sun Devils in an ITA national event since returning to active status this season after a decade’s absence.
Geerts was humbled by his victory and knows what this pair of wins means for the Arizona State tennis program.
“For Arizona State, it’s a great opportunity to show our team a little bit and who we have and try to represent Arizona State as best as possible,” said Geerts. “I think the coaching staff have set up a great program for us.”
The mixed doubles draw saw a couple of upsets in the first round. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the duo of Margita Sunjic of Northern Kentucky and Simon Freund of UC Santa Barbara take down Pepperdine’s Jessica Failla and Arizona State’s Hannestad, 6-2. Dartmouth’s Mathis and Columbia’s Victor Pham found themselves in the quarterfinals of the draw after defeating UNC Wilmington’s Madara Straume and Elon’s Felipe Sarrasague, 6-3. They advanced to the quarterfinals after Chrysochos withdrew from the mixed doubles draw with an injury.
Shibahara capped her day with a second mixed doubles victory with USC’s Brandon Holt to reach the quarterfinals. The powerful duo cruised to victory over Lipscomb's Viktoriya Dzyuba and Alabama's Thibault Cancel, 6-4.
“It was a good first day; it was really beautiful out here,” said Shibahara. “Mixed doubles was really easy with Brandon [Holt]. He makes it really easy for me. We’ve played together since juniors so we know each other really well.”
- Only three of the 32 day one singles matches went three sets.
- ECU’s Celia Ruiz’s, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Idaho’s Marianna Petrei constituted the only time a lower seed topped a higher seed (17 over 15).
Head to the Oracle ITA Masters event page for draws, schedule of events, daily recaps, video highlights, photo gallery links and other information. Live scoring will be available for all matches, while TempuZ will provide live streaming coverage all tournament long from Malibu Racquet Club.