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Monday, January 29, 2018

Elbaba, Arconada and Li Advance to Final Round of Qualifying at Dow Tennis Classic; Ma Drops Second Straight Grade 1 Final to Osorio Serrano; Fields Set for ITA Division I Team Indoor Championships

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Midland, MI--

For the second year in a row, former University of Virginia star Julia Elbaba has advanced to the final round of qualifying at the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic, although she was unsure whether she would make the trip to Michigan after playing qualifying in a $60,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in France last week.

"I honestly decided to come here the night before qualies," said the 23-year-old from New York. "I was the 12th alternate, really borderline. My mom asked me if I would be more upset if I go and don't get in, or staying home when you would have gotten in. I said staying home; it's about taking chances."

On Sunday, Elbaba defeated former USC star Giuliana Olmos of Mexico 7-5, 6-3 and followed that today with a 6-3, 6-4 win over top qualifying seed Daniela Seguel of Chile.

"I've been serving and returning better," said Elbaba, who graduated from Virginia in 2016. "That's something I really focused on in the preseason that definitely translated into the match today. I played more aggressive, I think she likes to grind, as a girl from Chile, that's just my guess.  I made sure to move in as much as I could and finish points at the net."

Elbaba, who won the 2014 National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships while at Virginia, admits indoor hard courts are a favorite of hers.

"Obviously I won a nice title on college on the indoor hard courts, so I always carry that little momentum into every indoor tournament I play," said Elbaba, who suffered a fracture in her hand while training last winter that kept her off the tour for several months. "I was just feeling it out there, and I felt it here last year as well."

Elbaba will face unseeded Jovana Jaksic of Serbia in the final round of qualifying, after Jaksic defeated former University of Michigan star Emina Bektas, the No. 8 seed, 6-7(6), 6-1, 7-5.

Seventeen-year-old Ann Li advanced to the final round of qualifying with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Cristiana Ferrando of Italy, who had taken out No. 2 seed Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain in the first round. Li broke Ferrando for a 5-3 lead and hung on, saving a break point in the final game with a good first serve.  Li had been unable to convert her first two match points, but she claimed her third, with a big forehand that forced an error from her 22-year-old opponent.  Li will play Paula Goncalves of Brazil, who beat 18-year-old Maria Mateas 6-3, 6-2.

The only two seeds remaining in the draw will play each other on Tuesday morning, with No. 7 seed Usue Arconada facing  No. 3 seed Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway.  Eikeri breezed past Hanyu Guo of China 6-2, 6-1, while Arconada came from a set down to defeat Sophie Chang 3-6, 6-3, 6-0.

Arconada, who is currently enrolled at LSU and trained there last week, but is taking her classes online, needed over three hours to get past Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in Sunday's first round.

"I had a long match yesterday with de Brito, I was moving a lot and running a lot and it was a tough three-setter," said the 19-year-old. "So my legs were a little gone at the beginning today, my rhythm wasn't really there and I wasn't moving as well. But in the second set, she kind of gave me a little break, she wasn't feeling her serve a lot, so I tried to take advantage of that and be more aggressive. I got myself ready and mentally going more, and in the third set I started to be more aggressive, go for more. I played well."

The fourth final round qualifying match on Tuesday will feature Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic against Katherine Sebov of Canada.

The main draw has been released with wild card Whitney Osuigwe drawing No. 4 seed Sonya Kenin.  The Newport Beach WTA 125 champion Danielle Collins has drawn Francoise Abanda of Canada.  Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania and Jennifer Brady are the top two seeds.

The ITF Grade 1 in Colombia finished last night, and I apologize for not being able to keep up with it.  There was no live scoring and many late night matches, so I was always behind in reporting.  American Lea Ma, the No. 6 seed, reached the final again, after making the final the week before in Costa Rica, and again she fell to top seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia.  Osorio Serrano took the final 6-2, 6-2 this week, after Ma had beaten unseeded Gabby Price in the semifinals and Kacie Harvey[15] in the quarterfinals.

Angelica Blake and Harvey, the No. 6 seeds, lost in the doubles final to Mylene Halemai of France and Adrienn Nagy of Hungary 6-2, 7-5.

Three US boys made the quarterfinals: Tyler Zink[6], Alex Lee and Eliot Spizzirri[9].

For the second straight week an unseeded French boy won a Grade 1 title, with Arthur Cazaux defeating No. 2 seed Mateus Alves of Brazil 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2.

Nicholas David Ionel of Romania and Sebastian Rodgriuez of Peru won the boys doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Facundo Diaz Acosta and Agustin Riquelme Coppari of Argentina 6-3, 6-1.

The fields are set for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

The women's team who have advanced to the event in Madison Wisconsin:

Wake Forest*
North Carolina
Texas Tech
Georgia Tech
Ole Miss*
South Carolina

*beat host team

** did not face host team

*** National host

Complete women's results can be found at the ITA tournament page.

The men's teams that have advanced to the tournament in Seattle:

Wake Forest
North Carolina
Ohio State
Notre Dame*
Texas A&M
Oklahoma State

*beat host team

** did not face host team

*** National host 

Complete results from the men's Kickoff Weekend can be found at the ITA's tournament page.