DENTON, Texas - The UTEP tennis team (6-7) was bested, 4-0, by undefeated FIU (10-0) in the opening round of the 2021 Conference USA Championships in Denton, Texas, Thursday.
“We really fought today with everything we had, but they were just a little stronger than us,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “It shows why they are still undefeated and ranked nationally in the top 30s. We learned a lot today that we will take with us for the future.”
Action commenced in doubles, where the Panthers took the early 1-0 lead. The Miners didn’t go quietly though, putting up quite the fight at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles.
After Thassane Abrahim/Veronika Lebisova were bounced by Kamila Umarova/Andjela Skrobonja, 6-1, at No. 1 doubles, the focus turned toward court three.
Lyric Bonilla/Kathleen Percegona fought hard only to fall to Kristina Miletic/Basak Akbas, 6-4, at No. 3 doubles to clinch the point for FIU. Lina Sachica/Vanessa Valdez were trailing, 5-3, to Andreea Velcea/Marina Alcaide at No. 2 when it went unfinished.
In singles play Abrahim was bounced, 6-1, 6-3, by Skrobonja at No. 4. Vanessa Valdez succumbed, 6-4, 6-0, to Umarova at No. 1 singles.
Erandi Martinez was dropped by #107 Alcaide, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 2 singles.
With the team outcome decided, the other three matches went unfinished.
Elena Dibattista was on the verge of defeating Miletic at No. 6 singles before it was halted, 6-4, 5-2.
UTEP, which entered the match having won three in a row and five of seven, concludes the Covid-19 affected season at 6-7.
It also marks the final match of their careers for seniors Valdez and Martinez. The duo combined to win 60 singles matches during their time together in the Sun City.
“I want to thank Vanessa and Erandi for their hard work and dedication as their tennis careers come to an end,” Fernandez said. “I am very proud of how this team handled themselves this year and we will come back stronger next fall.”
FIU 4, UTEP 0
1. Umarova,Kamila (FIU) def. Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) 6-4, 6-0
2. #107 Alcaide,Marina (FIU) def. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 6-1, 6-0
3. Akbas,Basak (FIU) vs. Lina Sachica (UTEP) 6-2, 4-4, unfinished
4. Skrobonja,Andjela (FIU) def. Thassane Abrahim (UTEP) 6-1, 6-3
5. Velcea,Andreea (FIU) vs. Veronika Lebisova (UTEP) 6-4, 4-3, unfinished
6. Miletic,Kristina (FIU) vs. Elena Dibattista (UTEP) 4-6, 2-5, unfinished
1. Umarova,Kamila/Skrobonja,Andjela (FIU) def. Veronika Lebisova/Thassane Abrahim (UTEP) 6-1
2. Velcea,Andreea/Alcaide,Marina (FIU) vs. Lina Sachica/Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) 5-3, unfinished
3. Miletic,Kristina/Akbas,Basak (FIU) def. Lyric Bonilla/Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,2,1)