Batta Ends UNLV's NCAA Drought

May 22, 2013


LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV's dry spell at the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Singles Championship ended after a dozen years Wednesday as Lucia Batta won her first round match at the Akins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.

Batta's victory was the program's first at the national singles event since All-American Katarina Malec went all the way to the semifinals in 2000.

It sure didn't come easy. In fact, Batta, ranked 59th in the nation, extended her amazing individual winning streak to 28 matches with a 6-3, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4 victory over No. 51 Alexandra Cercone of Florida. What made it even more impressive is that Cercone was the last player to defeat Batta as the Gator standout won the first meeting 6-2, 6-2 at the Freeman Memorial Championships in Las Vegas way back on Jan. 20.

Batta, a junior from Budapest, Hungary, improved to 38-5 overall and is now one win away from tying Malec's school record set in 2000 for victories in a season. Cercone, also a junior, finished her season 26-10.

Batta moved on to Thursday's second round where she will meet fifth-ranked, fifth-seeded and fellow Hungarian Zsofi Susanyi of California, who downed 45th-ranked Caroline Rohde-Moe of Ole Miss, 6-3, 6-0 to advance. That match is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. PT. Live scoring and video is available using a link at www.unlvrebels.com. The tournament runs through May 27.

This marked the first time that UNLV sent two players to the women's singles tournament and fellow-junior Aleksandra Josifoska (Skopje, Macedonia) lost a tough first-round match on Wednesday. Ranked 38th, Josifoska got off to a quick start in both of her sets vs. 11th-ranked Mary Weatherholt of Nebraska. However, the Husker All-American rallied both times and won it 6-4, 6-4 in a match that began outside and ended inside after a rainstorm.

Josifoska, the Mountain West Player of the Year, ended her season at 34-9 with both of her final two losses coming at the hands of Weatherholt (26-1) as today featured a rematch from the NCAA Team Tournament meeting earlier this month. Josifoska's 34 victories tied for the fourth-most in program single-season history and she will head into her final campaign on campus with 87 wins, which is eighth on the career list.