Men & women’s tennis compete at NCAAs

Kylie Bilchev and Ava Hrastar celebrate during their NCAA tournament run. The duo made it to the quarterfinals of doubles play before bowing out. // Photo courtesy of Ricky Bassman GTAA

The NCAA Tennis Championships began on May 19 at the University of Illinois, starting with the teams championships and followed by the singles and doubles championships.

Tech was represented in both the men’s and women’s singles and doubles competitions. The men’s and women’s singles round of 64 began Monday, May 23 at 11 a.m. EST followed by the second round of singles and the opening round of doubles on Tuesday, May 24.

Redshirt sophomore Andres Martin, currently ranked No. 12 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) singles ranking, competed in the men’s singles competition hosted at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. On May 23 in the round of 64, Martin played an eventful match against Daniel De Jonge from Pepperdine University.

In the first set, three of the games went to deuce point, and Martin began with a 2–0 lead. De Jonge brought the match level to 5-all, and Martin eventually won a tiebreaker 7–5. In the second set, Martin began with a 3–1 lead and reached 5–4 with Martin serving. He won this set 6–4, winning him the match 7–6(5), 6–4.

Martin moved on to a match against Arthur Fery from Stanford University in the round of 32 on May 24. Fery broke two of Martin’s serves and won the first set 6–3. Martin came back to break two of Fery’s serves in the second set and took a 6–2 set win. Martin and Fery also traded serves during the third set, and Fery eventually broke Martin’s serve and won the match 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Martin went on to compete in the doubles championship with redshirt sophomore Marcus McDaniel, the two of whom are currently ranked No. 10 in the ITA doubles ranking. Martin and McDaniel matched up against Justin Barki and Ryan Seggerman of Princeton University. Martin/McDaniel fell behind 2–4 in the first set and eventually lost two deuce points, giving Barki/Seggerman a 6–2 set win. Martin/McDaniel came back in the second set to serve a perfect game and lead 2–0. After winning four stream games, they won the set 6–1. The tie-breaker set saw Martin/McDaniel at an early lead before their opponents had a successful run to tie the game at seven. Barki/Seggerman eventually won the set 10–7.

These losses marked the end of the men’s tennis season, but Martin will compete again this summer after he won a wildcard bid to the Atlanta Open, which begins July 23 at Atlantic Station.

Four women represented Tech in the women’s championships following an eventful NCAA tournament in Auburn, Ala. Sophomore Carol Lee, ranked as high as No. 22 in ITA’s rankings, received an at-large bid into the singles competition.

Freshman Kate Sharabura joined Lee to compete in the doubles competition, with their team ranked as high as No. 4 in the ITA rankings.

Freshman Kylie Bilchev and sophomore Ava Hrastar were also entered into the doubles competition as the No. 36 team by the ITA after previously being listed as alternates.

In the first round of the women’s singles championships on May 23, Lee matched up against Maria Titova from the University of Kansas. Lee caught up with Titova’s 2–0 lead in the first set and won the set 6–3. She began set two with a 3–0 lead and won a deuce point, eventually winning the set 6–2 and ending the match.

The second round of singles and opening round of doubles began on May 24.

Lee matched up against Emma Navarro from the University of Virginia. Navarro, ranked No. 1, took a 4–2 lead and won the first set 6–4. While Lee managed to bring the second set to a 6-6 tiebreaker, Navarro eventually won the tiebreak 7–2 and took a 6–2, 7–4(6) match win.

Lee and Sharabura went up against Ayumi Miyamoto and Lisa Marie Rioux from Oklahoma State University in doubles, and lost after the second set, with Miyamoto/Rioux taking a 6–0, 6–1 match win.

Hrastar and Bilchev played Carly Briggs and Marlee Zein from the University of Florida. Briggs/Zein began with a 6–5 lead, but Hraster/Bilchev tied the set 6-all and took a 7–2 set win. In the second set, Bilchev/Hraster held serve and won the set 6–4 and a match win of 7–6(2), 6–4. This allowed them to move on to the round of 16 on May 25, where they would compete against No. 7 doubles team Alicia Herrero Linana and Melany Krywoj from Baylor University.

The match lasted two hours due to weather delays and a move indoors. Linana/Krywoj won the first set 6–1, but Bilchev/Hrastar came back in the second set with a 5–1 lead. After forcing a super tiebreak, Bilchev/Hrastar won the second set 6–2. For the tiebreak set, Linana/Krywoj began with a 4–1 lead, but Bilchev/Hrastar came back to tie 5–5 and lead 9–6. Baylor made their way back to a 9–9 tie, but Tech finally came out on top after getting a 14–13 lead and winning the match 1–6, 6–2, 1–0 (15–13).

This victory qualified Bilchev and Hrastar for the quarterfinals on May 26. The Jackets matched up against No. 42 Janice Tjen and Savannah Broadus from Pepperdine University. Tjen/Broadus got an early 3–0 lead in the first set and earned a 6–1 set win. After being tied at one early in the second set, Pepperdine rolled in the second set 6–1 and closed out the match.

Bilchev and Hrastar received ITA All-American status for making it to the NCAA championship quarterfinals.