URBANA, Ill. --- North Carolina's Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Caroline Price advanced to the round of 16 with second round wins in the NCAA Singles Championship Thursday at the Atkins Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Illnois. The wins give Carolina two players in the final 16 of the singles tournament for the first time in school history, and Price now joins Suarez-Malaguti as an ITA All-America honoree for the first time in her career.
Price was the first Tar Heel in action Thursday, and she wasted no time in taking an early 3-0 lead against No. 12 Julie Elbaba of Virginia. Price took the first set, 6-2, before once again breaking in the second game of the set and consolidating for a 3-0 advantage. At that point, play was suspended due to rain and eventually moved inside.
But the stoppage only delayed the inevitable, as Price won three of four games on the indoor courts and moved into the round of 16 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Price, who will earn ITA All-America honors by virtue of advancing to the final 16, will face No. 41 Natalie Beazant of Rice. Beazant rallied from 5-2 down in the third and saved a match point in her win over Aeriel Ellis of Texas.
Suarez-Malaguti struggled out of the gate in her second round match against No. 40 Beatrice Gumulya of Clemson, dropping the opening set, 6-2. But the ACC Player of the Year steadied herself after the first set, and Suarez-Malaguti won 12 of the last 14 games to score a 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory and advance to the third round. Suarez-Malaguti, who was already assured All-America status by virtue of her No. 7 seed, will face No. 15 Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State. Niedermayerova topped UCLA's Kyle McPhillips in a third-set tiebreak to advance.
Carolina's Zoe De Bruycker was also in action Thursday, and the Saratoga, Calif., senior fell to Clemson's Yana Koroleva, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. De Bruycker got down a break early in the third set and was unable to rally, ending her storied UNC career. De Bruycker finishes her career with three ACC titles in four years and an ITA All-America season in 2011.
NCAA Second Round
#46 Caroline Price, UNC def. #12 Julie Elbaba, UVA (9-16), 6-2, 6-1
#7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti, UNC (7) def. #40 Beatrice Gumulya, CLEM, 2-6, 6-0, 6-2
#16 Yana Koroleva, CLEM (9-16) def. #49 Zoe De Bruycker, UNC, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2