On the final day of qualifying and the first day of the main draw at the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open, the Texas Tennis Center was full of action-packed matches on a toasty Texas Tuesday.
Tatum Evans was the first qualifier to reach the main draw, blanking Shira Atturu, 6-0, 6-0, on Court 1 in less than an hour during the morning matches, pictured above. Evans is just 18 years old and has a current ITF ranking of 973. She is committed to play college tennis at the University of North Carolina and has played in several junior grand slams. She made it to the second round of the Wimbledon junior championships and is just now starting her professional career.
“I just want to play the way that I want to play,” Evans said after her victory. “I want to focus on my game and my long-term development.”
On the other end of the drama spectrum, Ava Markham fought back from being down to match point to defeat University of Texas player Malaika Ropolu, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 10-8. Markham, a 23-year-old from Demarest, N.J., is currently ranked at 823 and a former Wisconsin Badger. With Ropolu serving at 6-3, 5-4, 40-30, Markham hit a sizzling winner on the baseline that Ropolu hoped had been out.
Jade Otway from New Zealand claimed her spot in the main draw with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Taylor Gruber, an Austin native. Otway, a 20-year-old junior at Texas Christian University, was named the first-ever NIT Tennis MVP during the 2022-2032 season.
Kimmi Hance took down Mia Kupres, 6-0, 6-4. Hance dominated the first set before losing some momentum in the second set but stayed strong to get the win. Hance has a current ITF singles ranking of 536 and has been ranked as high as 437.
Ayumi Miyamoto defeated Chelsea Fontenel, 6-2, 6-3, in controlling fashion. Originally from Japan, Miyamoto is a graduate student at Oklahoma State University, where she was named to the All-Big 12 Doubles first team in 2022 and 2023 and an ITA All-American in 2020 and 2022.
University of Texas sophomore Nicole Rivkin defeated Anna Zyryanova, 6-2, 6-3. Rivkin, originally from Germany, controlled the play for the entire match, coming away with an emphatic win.
The final qualifying match of the day was a tight one, too. Mao Mushika of Japan defeated Savanna Ly-Nguyen, 6-2, 4-6, 10-6. Mushika is currently ranked at No. 401 in the ITF rankings and has been ranked as high as 41.
In the first round of the main draw, Madison Sieg won in dominating fashion, defeating Maria Kozyreva 6-2, 6-0. Sieg had a historic freshman season at the University of Southern California and was named an ITA All-American for both singles and doubles with a singles record of 32-4 and a doubles record of 22-2. Sieg is currently ranked at 935 in the ITF rankings.
After a back-and-forth first set, Martina Okalova took control of her match against Taisiya Pachkaleva winning by 6-4, 6-1. Okalova is a 26-year-old Slovak who played college tennis at University of Tulsa. Okalova has a career-high ITF ranking of 55, which she achieved in March 2023 and is looking to win her first W25 title.
Chloe Beck, a Duke alum from Watkinsville, Georgia, defeated Jessica Failla 6-4, 6-3. In 2023, Beck was named the ITA National Senior Player of the Year and is looking for her first ITF title.
“I like to play a lot of different shots, I don’t like to play the same shot twice in a row,” Beck said. “I’m just sticking to my game and not focusing too much on who I’m playing, but more just focusing on doing what I do well and enjoying my time here in Austin.”
Victoria Jimenez Kasinteva of Andorra, the tournament’s No. 4 seed, dominated Maria Kononova, 6-0, 6-1. Jimenez Kasinteva is just 18 years old and is currently No. 336 in the WTA rankings. In 2020, she won the Australian Open girls single title and was ranked as the No.1 junior in the world.
“I just tried to stay consistent,” Jimenez Kasinteva said. “Anyone can win – tennis is really complicated. My goal is just to keep going and keep moving on to the next round.”
Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M beat Sahaja Yamalapalli, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. It was a tough match, as the two split the first two sets, leading to a neck-and-neck third set. Stoiana, the 20-year-old from Connecticut, was named the 2023 SEC player of the year.
“I knew that I had to start going after my shots a little bit more. Stoiana said. “I was playing too passive in the first (set) and she was dictating almost every point. The second and third I dug in a little bit more and swung out and tried to make the match on my terms, and it ended up going my way in the end.”
In a topsy-turvy match, Ellie Douglas defeated Han Jiangxue, 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-2, to end the women’s singles for the day. Douglas, who played for TCU, is the 23-year-old from McKinney, Texas, who made it to the semifinals of a W60 in Berkeley, California, in September.
Article and photograph by Bevo Video Productions, a division of Texas Student Media at UT-Austin’s Moody College of Communication.