Two Wolverines will represent the Michigan women’s tennis team at the ITA All-American Championships this week in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Junior Brooke Bolender fell to No. 74 Alejandra Granillo of Pepperdine in the qualifying round on Tuesday afternoon. Despite taking the first set in a tiebreaker, a lack of balance in key points meant a failure to qualify for the main draw. Bolender would later drop both sets, 6-2, 6-3, in her consolation match against No. 76 Samantha Adams of Texas Tech.
“It was just one of those days where she wasn’t feeling overall great on the tennis court,” said Michigan coach Ronnie Bernstein. “She’s been great for us both in doubles and in singles. We’re going to continue to work hard in the fall, and I expect her to be a huge part of our success this year.”
Sophomore Emina Betkas, the No. 9 singles seed, will also compete in the singles main draw through the rest of the week. The championship match is set to take place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Despite little play over the summer, coach Bernstein expects good things from Betkas.
“A lot depends on the draw. If she serves well and plays with confidence, she can go really far in the tournament.”
The tournament scoring has no reflection on the team’s record and won’t affect Michigan’s current standing as the Big Ten leader. Instead, individual matches will contribute to rankings for both Bolender and Betkas and could set them up to qualify for the NCAA tournament in May. Competing against some of the best players in the country in similar tournaments will give the girls confidence, according to coach Berinstein.
As the fifth-ranked pair in the tournament, Bolender and Bektas will face high caliber competition in the main draw of doubles beginning Thursday afternoon. The duo won its only match Saturday at the Wolverine Invitational.
“The thing about them is that they can really beat anybody in the country,” Bernstein said, “They just have to play with that consistency.”
Events like the All-American Championship will prepare the women for events like the Roberta Allison Fall Classic and ITA Regionals. The Fall Classic opens this Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.