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PHILADELPHIA – The
Penn women’s tennis will be sending an undefeated duo to compete in the
USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships Nov. 8-11 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. at the
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Sophomore Sol Eskenazi and
freshman Sonya Latycheva have compiled a perfect 8-0 record together this season
in doubles competition.
Despite their success, the two have only paired up for two
tournaments. The Columbia Invitational was the first tournament of the fall
season and Eskenazi, the reigning ITA Northeast Region Rookie of the Year, took
Latycheva under her wing. The pair won both of their matches 8-4 – the first
over Harvard and then St. John’s. The two ended up pulling out of the
tournament prior to the semifinals.
After a month break, the pair teamed up once again for the
final tournament of the fall season before the National Championships, the ITA
Northeast Regionals. After winning their first two matches over Stony Brook
(8-1) and NJIT (8-3) with relative ease, the pair buckled down for two tough
matches. The first was against Nicole Bartnik – the No. 1 seeded player in
singles competition – and Crystal Leung of Ivy League rival Columbia in the
Round of 16. Penn’s doubles pair emerged victorious 8-6. The story was the same
in the next round as they topped another Ivy duo in Elizabeth Epstein and Hanna
Yu of Yale, also 8-6.
In the semifinals, Eskenazi and Latycheva surpassed the No.
1 seeded team of Lindsay Graff and Amanda Muliawan from Princeton, 8-2, and
moved on to the finals. There they would face another Columbia duo, No. 2 seeded
Bianca Sanon and Tiana Takenaga, but the result would end the same as the prior
meeting, with Penn on top 8-6. That win, their eighth of the season, earned
them the Women’s ITA Northeast Regional Doubles Championship. It also guaranteed
them a spot in the ITA Championships.
The ITAs will feature the toughest competition of the season
by far. Highlighting the list of opposing pairs will be three top-10 duos. Southern
California will be sending the defending ITA Indoor Champs – and current No. 1
in the Campbell/ITA Women’s Doubles Rankings – Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina
Santamaria. The other two pairs are No. 7 Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpak Issara
of Pepperdine and No. 9 Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay of Stanford. Also presenting
some stiff competition will be the UCLA pair of Robin Anderson and Pamel Montez
– the two are ranked separately in the top five with different partners.
A complete list of the 20 competing ITA doubles pairs can be