By Krista Pirtle
Baylor women’s tennis player, Ema Burgic advanced to the USTA/ITA Regional final on Tuesday, but lost a tough battle to the No. 1 seed of the tournament, Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar of Texas A&M.
Baylor served as one of twelve regional sites across the country for the Regional Championships from Oct. 19-23 at the Hurd Tennis Center. Baylor competed against teams from the Texas region.
“This tournament comprises of every Division I school in Texas,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “The good thing about this region is they’re getting stronger, so the depth of the nationally ranked players is increasing over the years. It’ll be a tough test for our team.”
The Lady Bears put four of their players in the 128-player singles draw, and two pairs of doubles teams in the 64-team doubles draw. Junior Jordaan Sanford, sophomores Burgic and Megan Horter and freshman Victoria Kisialeva, who made her first college tournament appearance, competed in the singles draw.
“We definitely have some of the best competition coming in the country,” Alex Clay, a transfer player from Alabama, said.
Burgic, No. 7 seed in the Regional, was granted a bye in the first round. She began her run by defeating UNT’s Franziska Sprinkmeyer, 6-0, 6-3. She was able to move on to the round of 16 by advancing past Texas A&M’s Anna Mamalat, 7-6(3), 6-3. On Sunday, Burgic added another win to her record by defeating Texas Tech’s Elizabeth Ullathorne in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. She then took down No. 15 Natalie Beazant of Rice, 6-2, 6-2. Burgic was able to advance to the finals by earning a victory over 11th-seeded Stefanie Tan of TCU, 6-2, 6-3. In the women’s singles final on Tuesday, Burgic faced the tournament’s No. 1 seed, and the country’s fourth-ranked player, Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar of Texas A&M. Sanchez-Quintanar defeated Burgic 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 to end the tournament. By winning the Regional, Sanchez-Quintanar earned a bid to the ITA National Indoor Championship in New York, N.Y.
No. 15 seed Sanford, who also received a bye in the first round, began the tournament with a win over Texas A&M’s Corpus Christi’s Stefania Nicolae, 6-0, 6-2. Sanford fell in the round of 32 to Texas A&M’s Stefania Hristov, 6-4, 6-0.
Kisialeva competed in her first college tournament. “I want to do the best that I can,” Kisialeva said. “We’ve all worked hard to prepare for the tournament.”
Kisialeva started by defeating Sam Houston State’s Madeline Mortimore, 6-0, 6-2. In the second round, she took down Texas State’s Rachel Baldree, 6-4, 6-1. Kisialeva moved on to the singles round of 16, advancing past Rice’s Katie Gater, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Kisialeva went down to No. 4 Cristina Sanchez-Quintana, 7-5, 7-5 in the round of 16.
“I’m never big on moral victories, but Victoria took a step forward today,” Scrivano said. “She played one of the best players in the country, and was in control of the match. That’s exactly what we want.”
Horter played Texas’ Juliana Gajic and advanced past the first round with a 6-2, 6-1 win. In the second round, Horter defeated Texas Tech’s Kenna Kilo, 7-5, 6-2. Like Sanford, Horter fell in the round of 32 with a loss against No. 87 Simona Parajova, 6-4, 6-1.
The No. 2 seed doubles team, Baylor’s Burgic and Sanford, was granted a first-round bye. Burgic and Sanford were able to advance to the round of 16 with an 8-3 win against Texas Tech’s Sandra Dynka and Sofya Malysheva. The Baylor duo advanced to the semifinals on Sunday by defeating Rice’s Gater and Liat Zimmerman, 8-2. Burgic and Sanford continued the success into the quarterfinals with a win against Texas’ No. 8 seed Elizabeth Bagley and Lina Padegimaite, 8-5. The Lady Bears were ultimately beaten by Nikki Sanders and Rashmi Teltumbde of Texas Tech, 8-1.
Baylor’s other doubles team, consisting of Horter and Kisialeva, faced Texas’ Gajic and Anna Rabinovich. Horter and Kisialeva defeated the Longhorn duo, 8-2. Horter and Kisialeva lost to Texas A&M’s Cristina Stancu and Hristov, 8-6.
The women’s tennis team will compete next at the Jack Kramer Club Invite in Rolling Hills, Calif. on Nov. 9-11.