Gophers Begin Play At ITA Central Region Championships

Go Gophers! Freshman Julia Courter won twice in singles on Friday.
Go Gophers!
Freshman Julia Courter won twice in singles on Friday.
Go Gophers!

Oct. 22, 2011

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Minnesota began main-draw play at the 2011 USTA/ITA Central Region Tennis Championships in Tulsa, Okla. on Friday. The Gophers had two doubles tandems and two singles players advance past the first two rounds of competition on the second day of the event.

Both Natallia Pintusava, the ITA’s 61st-ranked player in the nation and top-seeded singles player in the tournament, and freshman Julia Courter reached the Round of 16 with two wins apiece.

Pintusava started the day with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Wichita State’s Lucia Kovalova and moved on again with a three-set win against Iowa’s Shelby Talcott, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-5. Courter bounced back from a 6-4 first-set loss to Tulsa’s Michelle Farley to win with 6-3 and 7-6 (5) victories in the final two sets. She then racked up a straight-set win against Peta Maree Lancaster of Oklahoma.

Both Alexa Palen and Doron Muravnik won their first matches, but lost in the second round, while Magdalena Wiecha and Yuliana Umanets were unable to move past Round One.

Pintusava and Courter also had success in doubles play. After receiving a bye past the first round of the 44-team draw, the tenth-seeded pair eked past Nicole Long and Whitney Wofford of Oklahoma to stay alive, 9-8 (4).

Palen and Wiecha, who were seeded seventh and also received a bye, won their first match 8-6 to advance, as well.

Aria Lambert and Emilie Renault doubled up Lina Semenova and Tori Dollar of Oral Roberts 8-4, but were eliminated by the tournament’s highest-seeded doubles combination, Claudine Paulson and Kate Lukomskaya of Arkansas, by the same score in the next round.

Minnesota’s other two doubles teams, Umanets and Muravnik and Elianna Kantar and Pauline Gilbert, lost in the opening round.

The ITA's Central Region includes 30 teams from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Minnesota and Iowa are the lone women's Big Ten schools in the region.

After completing play in Tulsa, the Gophers will complete the fall season by playing at the Kitty Harrison Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C. Nov. 4-6.