As I tweeted earlier, University of Texas freshman Aerial Ellis completed a monster run all the way to the singles title at the 2009 ITA Texas Regional Championships held at Baylor University this week. In the final, Ellis defeated Baylor’s Nina Secerbegovic, 61 63, for a berth in next month’s ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New Haven, Conn.
You never really know how much stock to put into these Fall results, but she had some pretty significant wins en route to the title. In the quarterfinals, she defeated Rice’s Rebekkah Hänle, Baylor’s Csilla Borsanyi and teammate Krista Damico. Damico also had significant wins over Baylor’s top-seeded Lenka Broosova in the quarterfinals and a couple of players from Texas A&M, Lauren Santocroce and Elze Potgieter.
Secerbegovic raced to the final, defeating Texas A&M’s Stephanie Davidson (62 60) and SMU’s second-seeded Marta Lesniak (63 76) in quarterfinals. In the semifinal, she topped TCU’s Kayla Duncan, 60 61.
Duncan had reached the semis with wins over Baylor’s Taylor Ormond (64 75) and UT’s Amanda Cradock (62 62).
A Texan, Pavi Francis, teamed with Marta Lesniak to capture the doubles title for SMU. This is a huge win for SMU, which has really improved over the last two years. Lesniak and Francis were the No. 3 seed and defeated ninth-seeded Morgan Frank and Lauren Santocroce of Texas A&M 8-4 in the final.
Texas A&M had a tremendous tournament in doubles. The Aggies had three teams reach the quarterfinals, including Sheri Oliver and Stephanie Davidson and Elzé Potgieter and Nazari Urbina. Potgieter and Urbina fell to their teammate in the semifinals.
The biggest upset of the draw was North Texas’ Irina Paraschiv and Madura Ranganathan, who made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Francis and Lesniak. Along the way they defeated the top-seeded team of Borsanyi-Broosova from Baylor.
In the end, UT looked stronger than they have in a couple of years, while Baylor looked vulnerable a bit. Of course, if you were betting on the strength of the teams from Texas in the Spring, you’d be remiss to not have Baylor in the top spot. Here are my preliminary top-10 rankings of the women’s programs in the state.
1. Baylor, 2. Texas, 3. Texas A&M, 4. SMU, 5. TCU, 6. Rice, 7. Texas Tech, 8. UTEP, 9. Houston, 10. North Texas
Now, as opposed to last year, I actually think these teams are a lot closer than before. Texas had an overall better tournament than anyone else this week, but when you have not defeated Baylor in a duel match in years 92005 Big XII Championship), it is hard put them on top. Texas A&M has addedNazari Urbina to their young roster that make them better from top-to-bottom. From what I have seen and read, Urbina will play fairly high in their line-up and allow then some depth. TCU added Megan Alexander, but lost Macall Harkins. SMU didn’t add anyone, but is a year stronger. Rice was young last season and they look a year better. Tech will be a wild card. The Red Raiders added a bunch of new faces and we aren’t real sure how good they all are. #8 and #9 could be flip-flopped line many of the others around. Heck, TCU, SMU and Rice will all be great competitive matches this year with each other.
Not too much action in Mansfield. They did play a full round of doubles and the top seeds did lose, but not too much to point out. I mean, the infamous John Valenti did make the doubles draw and came points away from getting his first doubles win since 2006 over two kids from UT-Arlington. For more, read on here.
In the singles draw, it was the old guys getting back at the young bucks. Jack Sock could not continue his streak from last week and fell 63 64 to Jonathan Eysseric from France. Raymond Sarmiento fell to Nick Monroe, 76 64.
Lots of singles on tap manana.