Salt Lake City, Utah – Freshman Ela Kaluder played like a seasoned veteran on Saturday afternoon as she blazed through the competition on her way to the ITA Central Regional Championship’s singles title for the University of Arkansas women’s tennis team.
Kaluder, who began her title run in qualifying rounds last Wednesday, began her championship day with quarterfinal action against Boise State’s Tatiana Ganzha. Ganzha, who ousted Arkansas senior Melissa Cornett in the second round, was no match for the surging Lady Razorback freshman as Kaluder cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win.
In the semifinals, the Zagreb, Croatia native stood across from Kansas State’s Tamar Kvaratshelia, who defeated sophomore Maryori Franco in the Round of 16. Kaluder lost the first set, 6-3, but rallied back to win the next two sets, 6-4, 6-4 to upset the seventh seeded player in thrilling, three-set fashion to advance to the finals.
In that final match, Kaluder would face Brigham Young’s Olga Boulytcheva, who had given fellow Lady’Back freshman Aureilija Miseviciute her first collegiate loss earlier that day. Kaluder was crowned champion of the Central Regional after a forfeit by Boulytcheva.
Both final match contenders advance to the ITA National Individual Championships at Ohio State University on Nov. 3-6
“This was a fantastic performance by Ela today” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “It’s incredibly rare to come through qualifying and win the main draw. It just shows how good she really is.”
Only the crowning of a singles champion could eclipse the performance from Arkansas doubles on Saturday afternoon. Both Arkansas doubles teams, comprised of Franco and Karina Ledaja and Kaluder and Miseviciute, advanced to the doubles final match with two big wins apiece.
Franco and Ledaja defeated Nebraska’s Imke Reimens and Ewelina Skaza, 8-3, to advance to the semifinal match against BYU’s Boulytcheva and Sofia Holden. In that match, Franco and Ledaja won 8-4 to improve to 14-1 this fall.
On the other side of the bracket, Kaluder and Miseviciute advanced to the semifinal match with an 8-3 win over Kansas State’s Kvaratshelia and Katerina Kudluckova.
In the semifinal match, team freshman turned up the heat against Boise State’s Megan Biorkman and Hadley MacFarlane with an 8-2 win to put them in the finals.
The two Lady’Back squads square off for the second time this fall in a tournament final match at 8:00 a.m. The winner of that match goes on to compete at the National Individual Championships.
“There are some excellent doubles teams in this tournament but Ela and Aurelija and Maryori and Karina were really on their games this weekend and clearly deserved their berths in tomorrow’s final.”
For more information on Arkansas tennis or any other Lady’Back sport, please visit LADYBACKS.COM.
ITA Central Regional Championships
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah
Ela Kaluder (Arkansas) def. Tatiana Ganzha (Boise St.) 6-2, 6-2
(4) Olga Boulytcheva (BYU) def. Aurelija Miseviciute (Arkansas) 6-3, 0-6, 6-4
Ela Kaluder (Arkansas) def. (7) Tamara Kvaratshelia (Kansas St.) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
Ela Kaluder (Arkansas) def. (4) Olga Boulytcheva (BYU) by default
(2) Maryori Franco/Karina Ledaja (Arkansas) def. Imke Reimens/Ewelina Skaza (Nebraska) 8-3
Ela Kaluder/Aurelija Miseviciute (Arkansas) def. (8) Katerina Kudluckova/Tamar Kvaratshelia (Kansas St.) 8-3
(2) Maryori Franco/Karina Ledaja (Arkansas) def. (3) Olga Boulytcheva/ Sofia Holden (BYU) 8-4
Ela Kaluder/Aurelija Miseviciute (Arkansas) def. Megan Biorkman/Hadley MacFarlane (Boise St.) 8-2