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Monday, May 29, 2023


Cougar duo advances to final eight at ITA Regional

The Cougars have just two more competitions before the team returns to UH for its first home match against Lamar on Jan. 20. | Andres Chio/The Cougar

The Cougars shined in the team’s biggest but shortest tournament of the fall season when it visited College Station for the ITA Texas Women’s Regional this weekend.

Houston did not go all the way, but it showed it could compete with the best in Texas.

The first day was good for Houston as it won seven singles matches and three doubles.

Redshirt freshman Elena Tairyan and sophomore Ndindi Ndunda started the day off with a win against a North Texas’ doubles squad to advance to the Round of 32.

The two faced the No. 1 seed in the next round of play and were defeated 6–3 by the Texas duo, junior Petra Granic and sophomore Bojana Markovic.

Despite the loss, Ndunda bounced back in singles in a hard-fought match against senior Ana Perez of Texas State.

She met freshman Petra Kaszas of Sam Houston State in the next round and won another tough match 4–6, 6–4, 1–0 to play Texas Tech freshman Denise-Antonela Stoica on Friday.

Ndunda won the match in another tiebreaker, but the Cougars’ final singles player was knocked out in the Round of 16.

Junior Phonexay Chitdara and freshman Sophie Gerits continued their team’s Thursday success with a 6–2 win against Texas State’s duo. They then took down PVAMU’s duo in the Round of 16 to advance.

In the quarterfinals, Chitdara and Gerits faced off against Rice sophomores Linda Huang and Michaela Haet, who knocked them out of the tournament in a 6–3 match. It was the second time the two duos faced off this season, with the Rice pair winning the last meeting 6-2 at the Rice Invitational.

Chitdara was also successful in the first round of singles play with a win in straight sets but was knocked out in her next outing.

Freshman Stephanie Belovukovic defeated Panthers’ freshman Lucia Garcia 6­­­­–1, 6–3 to advance to the Round of 64, but she was no match against Longhorns’ junior Anna Turati.

Houston will play its final fall swing next weekend at the River Oaks Invitational across town before beginning its preparation for the spring.

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