FLUSHING , N.Y. – The Penn’s women’s tennis duo of sophomore Sol Eskenazi and freshman Sonya Latycheva (10-2) had a good showing this past weekend at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The pair advanced to the consolation draw semifinal round, where they lost a very close match to eventual consolation champions Maci Epstein and Erin Vierra of Virginia, 8-6.
“It was a very close one,” said assistant coach Filip Kricka, who traveled with the pair to the ITAs. “The last two games were very close and could have easily gone our way. It was a good match with a high level of play from start to end.”
The match against the Cavaliers was back and forth, as the two teams exchanged games until it was knotted at 6-6. That was when Virginia pulled away and sealed the consolation semifinals. The Wahoos would face Gabriella DeSimone and Zoe Scandalis of USC in the finals, winning a tight one, 9-8(1), in a tiebreak.
With Penn’s performance throughout the weekend, splitting their matches 2-2 against the toughest competition they’ve faced all year, head coach Sanela Kunovac believes that her young doubles pair has a shot of earning a spot in the national rankings.
Competition began Thursday, Nov. 8 as the duo met Tereza Bekerova and Paige Miles of Utah in the first round. The match started off very close as the two teams traded games. Once the match was tied at 5-5, though, the Red and Blue stepped on the gas and finished off the Utes 8-5, advancing to the second round later in the day.
Next, they faced off against Ashley Dai and Whitney Kay of UNC, who were coming off a first-round bye. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 7-3 lead, breaking the Quakers twice. Eskenazi and Latycheva would fire back, but would ultimately relinquish that final game for their first loss together on the season, 8-5.
Because of their first round win, the Quakers were not finished for the weekend. They would get another shot Friday against Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido of USC in a first round consolation match. Despite a stumble out of the gate, with the Trojans breaking serve and going up 2-0, Eskenazi and Latycheva would not back down. They came together and played as close to flawless as possible. They would win eight of the next nine games, taking the match 8-3, and earning a spot in the consolation semis.
The duo would then battle a tough Virginia team Saturday morning, taking it all the way to a 6-6 tie. Unfortunately the pair would eventually fall for their second loss on the season, 8-6.
In overall competition, the PAC-12 took control of the women’s draw, as Robin Anderson of UCLA took the singles title, 6-3, 6-4. As for the doubles side, the No. 1 seeded pair of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria of USC did what they were supposed to do, sweeping the finals, 6-0, 6-0. The men’s draw was controlled by the ACC, as Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia won the singles title, 6-2, 6-1 in the finals. The doubles title went to the No. 2 seeded pair of Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler from Duke. The duo triumphed, 6-4, 6-2, in the finals.