MALIBU, Calif. – University of Akron junior Ariadna Blinova (Riga, Latvia) participated in the 2016 Oracle/ITA Masters on Thursday, October 13 at Pepperdine University.
Blinova paired up with Ryan Peniston of Memphis to battle Pepperdine's No. 12 seed Laura Gulbe and Lautaro Pane to a 6-3 decision. With the loss, the duo was eliminated from the mixed doubles draw.
In singles action Blinova fought extremely hard against the No. 5 seed Hayley Carter, ultimately falling 6-4, 6-2.
"I am extremely proud of the way Ari played today," said head coach Brandon Padgett. "Her heart and determination showed during every point. She proved to herself that she can play with anyone in the country today."
Blinova did not go down without a fight, as the turning point in the match was at 4-4 in the first set, with the game score tied at deuce.
"We just could not win that big point at 4-4, deuce. It was a long rally and Hayley played the point just a little bit better than Ari did," Padgett continued. "That one point swung the momentum of the match. To Ari's credit, she came out fighting during the second set, and kept the match close throughout."
Carter is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation making it the first time in program history that a Zip competed against the nation's top rated player.
"She deserved a better fate today but in the end, I still could not be more proud of the effort she showed from start to finish," Padgett finished. "I know she will show that same type of determination tomorrow in another extremely tough matchup."
The Riga, Latvia native will take on Denver's No. 21 seed Julia O'Laughlin tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 14) at 2 p.m. in the consolation round.