Daniel/Zhu Finish Runner-Ups, Highlight Women's Tennis Run at ITA Regionals

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The University of Pennsylvania women's tennis team concluded play at the 2016 Northeast ITA Regional Tuesday afternoon, highlighted by a runner-up finish from senior Kana Daniel and freshman Ashley Zhu in doubles play.

Having only played together twice entering regional play, Daniel and Zhu showed poise and prowess in starting the tournament in dominant fashion, first defeating St. Bonaventure's Martinez-Santori/Herberts by a score of 8-1. The pair followed that up in the Round of 32 against Horton/Young of Quinnipiac, winning 8-4. The first true test for the Quakers came in the form of Stojaanovska and Kotok from Buffalo, who pushed Daniel and Zhu to the brink in tiebreak fashion. Penn ultimately pulled out the victory 8-7(4) to advance to the quarterfinals. 

Next up was Ivy League opponents Lord/Benotto from Brown, the tournament's No. 2 seed. Penn jumped out early and held on late to take down the Bears by a score of 8-5, pushing its winning streak to four. The final match of the day on Monday for the pair was against Columbia's Makarome and Solovyev, this time formatted as best two of three sets. The Red and Blue started well and won the first set 6-3, before capturing a tight second frame by a score of 7-5 to advance to the finals. 

Top seeded Syracuse's Knutson/Salazar overwhelmed Daniel and Zhu on Tuesday, winning 6-2, 6-2 and ending the Penn pair's run at the championship. It was the second-straight year Penn featured a doubles finalist, as Daniel and former player Sonya Latycheva finished runners-up a year ago.  

Daniel and Zhu's performance was the best of many strong performances across the board for the Quakers. Daniel also featured a semifinals appearance in the singles draw, defeating players from Boston College, Massachusetts, Harvard and Brown along the way. The senior fell to the eventual champion Valerie Salazar 6-3, 6-4 on Monday. 

Zhu herself performed well in singles defeating Ivy League opponents Dartmouth, Cornell, and Columbia en route to the Round of 16 before losing to Salazar. 

Lina Qostal and Sarah Dreyfuss both featured Round of 32 appearances in singles, while Marta Kowalska moved out of the first round and gave the top seed a three-set scare.

In doubles, Kowalska and Luba Vazhenina took down a duo from NJIT 8-4 before winning a tight 8-7(2) affair over UConn in the Round of 32. Playing their second-straight tiebreak match, the pair eventually lost in the Round of 16 to Dartmouth's Ng/Lyn. 

Marta Kowalska (Penn) def. Maddie Stearns (Brown) 6-4, 6-3
Ashley Zhu (Penn) def. Allison McCann (Dartmouth) 6-2, 6-1
Asiya Dair (Boston College) def. Marta Kowalska (Penn) 2-6, 6-2, 6-0
Ashley Zhu (Penn) def. Marika Cusick (Cornell) 6-4, 7-6(4)
Kana Daniel (Penn) def. Elene Tsokilauri (Boston College) 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-5
Sarah Dreyfuss (Penn) def. Valerie Shklover (Yale) 6-3, 6-2
Lina Qostal (Penn) def. Priyanka Shah (Cornell) 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-2
Ashley Zhu (Penn) def. Alex Solovyev (Columbia) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Kana Daniel (Penn) def. Brittany Collens (UMass) 6-1, 6-0
Jessica Livianu (St. John's) def. Sarah Dreyfuss (Penn) 6-0, 6-2
Gabrielle Knutson (Syracuse) def. Lina Qostal (Penn) 6-1, 6-3
Valerie Salazar (Syracuse) def. Ashley Zhu (Penn) 6-3 ,6-1
Kana Daniel (Penn) def. Erica Oosterhout (Harvard) 6-4, 6-2
Kana Daniel (Penn) def. Dayna Lord (Brown) 7-6(2), 6-4
Valerie Salazar (Syracuse) def. Kana Daniel (Penn) 6-3, 6-4

Borr/Possokhova (Boston College) def. Dreyfuss/Qostal (Penn) 8-4
Vazhenina/Kowalska (Penn) def. Habegger/Minc (NJIT) 8-4
Daniel/Zhu (Penn) def. Martinez-Santori/Herberts (St. Bonaventure) 8-1
Vazhenina/Kowalska (Penn) def. Fitz/Perotta (UConn) 8-7(2)
Daniel/Zhu (Penn) def. Horton/Young (Quinnipiac) 8-4
Ng/Lyn (Dartmouth) def. Vazhenina/Kowalska (Penn) 8-7(5)
Daniel/Zhu (Penn) def. Stojaanovska/Kotok (Buffalo) 8-7(4)
Daniel/Zhu (Penn) def. Lord/Benotto (Brown) 8-5
Daniel/Zhu (Penn) def. Makarome/Solovyev (Columbia) 6-3, 7-5
Salazar/Knutson (Syracuse) def. Daniel/Zhu (Penn) 6-2, 6-2