ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida State women’s tennis team held its own at the third USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational presented by VISIT FLORIDA on Thursday at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. The Seminoles finished the day with a 5-4 record and six players moving forward into the next round on Friday.
“We were excited this morning to start the Clay Court tournament at Disney,” assistant coach Zsuzsanna Fodor said. “It is the first of its kind being televised on ESPN, giving these young student athletes a unique exposure and an opportunity to reach out to the nationwide community.”
Senior Daneika Borthwick and redshirt freshman Emily Fanning kicked off the day in impressive fashion defeating Oklahoma State’s Carla Tu Mari and Maria Alvarez, 8-5. The match was played at the stadium court and was broadcasted on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Down 2-5 to start, Borthwick and Fanning dug deep into the clay and won six games in a row en route to victory in their first match playing together since January of last year.
Borthwick and Fanning didn’t just impress in doubles, but also in their singles matches.
The Cumbria, England native was solid from the beginning in her win over Abbi Melrose from Oklahoma. She was up 3-0 early and never looked back as she defeated Melrose in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5.
Fanning had a tougher time opening her match against Sofia Baptista of Central Florida. She trailed 4-5 at one point in the first set, but was able to fight back. Fanning used that momentum into the second set to defeat Baptista, 7-5, 6-4.
After dropping the first set 1-6, senior Kerrie Cartwright won 12 of the next 15 games to pull out the come from behind victory against Oklahoma’s Lily Miyazaki 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“Our upper classmen made a significant effort to step up their game and propel us through the first day,” Fodor said. “We need to do a better job tapping into it day in and day out, which is an exciting challenge to have.”
Junior Yukako Noi and sophomore Daniela Schippers played together for this first time and things clicked immediately. Noi and Schippers cruised to victory over Kelly Williford and Katherine Butler of Virginia Tech, 8-3.
Freshman Gabriella Castaneda never gave up in her match against Youngstown State’s Marta Burak, but was unable to come away with the win. Castaneda dropped a tough first set, but kept fighting and pulled out the second set in a tiebreaker. The hard-working freshman fell in the third set and lost the match, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4.
“As the last tournament of this Fall season, we are hoping to implement weeks worth of improvements, before we hit our second development phase,” Fodor said. “This year’s team has a huge reservoir full of potential. We are looking forward to day two’s intensifying competition.”
Florida State returns to action on Friday at the Grand Cypress Tennis and Racquet Club. Singles matches will begin in the morning with doubles matches to follow.
For more information on Florida State women’s tennis, follow the Seminoles on Twitter @FSU_WTennis and like their official Facebook page.
Singles A Draw:
Round of 32
Daneika Borthwick (FSU) def. Abbi Melrose (OU) 6-2, 7-5
Kerrie Cartwright (FSU) def. Lily Miyazaki (OU) 1-6, 6-1, 6-2
Marta Burak (YS) def. Gabriella Castaneda (FSU) 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4
Singles B Draw:
Round of 32
Emily Fanning (FSU) def. Sofia Baptista (UCF) 7-5, 6-4
Singles C Draw:
Round of 16
Maja Salibasic (SU) def. Lana Rush (FSU) 6-0, ret.
Katherine Butler (VT) def. Daniela Schippers (FSU) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles A Draw:
Round of 16
Borthwick/Fanning (FSU) def. Tur Mari/Alvarez (OSU) 8-5
Doubles B Draw:
Round of 8
Brendel/Sahni (YS) def. Cartwright/Castaneda (FSU) 8-6
Doubles C Draw:
Round of 8
Schippers/Noi (FSU) def. Williford/Butler (VT) 8-3