EAST LANSING, Mich. — Akron tennis player Rita Pedroso (Porto, Portugal) advanced to the finals of the qualifying singles draw at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships on Thursday at Michigan State's Indoor Tennis Facility.
"Today was a solid day for us," said head coach Brandon Padgett. "Rita struggled to keep her focus throughout portions of both matches, but I am pleased with her resolve. Tomorrow is an important match for her and I am excited to see how she plays. Doubles has been hit or miss for us this fall, so I am looking forward to seeing how we play."
The freshman is one of 16 players left in the qualifying singles draw. Pedroso defeated Western Michigan's Katja Fevralev 6-4,1-6,7-5 to move into the round of 32 where she beat Colleen O'Brien of Toledo (4-6,6-3,6-2).
Pedroso is set to face off against Aspasia Avgeri from DePaul University starting at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. The winners of each match will earn one of eight qualifying spots in the main singles draw at the ITA Midwest Regional. Ariadna Blinova (Riga, Latvia) and Sophia Geier (Burgebrach, Germany) are in the main draw of singles that begins on Saturday.
"Everyone played extremely hard today," Padgett continuted. "Karalina is very sick, but she fought hard today and I am proud of her effort. I really feel badly for Carli, who put herself in a great position to pick up a big win, but it was no to be. She definitely played well enough to win. Luisa struggled to get going today, but her opponent played at a high level. I know she will come out fighting again tomorrow."
Junior Carli Knezevich (Austin, Texas) fell to Wisconsin's Melissa Pick, 6-2,3-6,7-6 (5) before Luisa Echeverry (Cali, Columbia) dropped a 7-6(3),6-3 result to Marie Mayerova of Eastern Michigan. Karalina Maksimava (Mogilev, Belarus) also lost to Illinois' Daniela Pedrazza-Novak, 6-3,6-0 in the first round.
At 2 p.m. tomorrow, the doubles team of Knezevich and Maksimava will take on DePaul's Ana Vladutu and Patricia Lancranjan. Echeverry and Pedroso will compete against Toledo's O'Brien and Claire Aleck at 2:45 p.m. while Blinova and Shannon Newnes (Romford, London) look to knock off Valparaiso's Dao Sysouvanh and Med Modesto.
Players are vying for a spot in the prestigious ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which will take place on Nov. 3-6 at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.