Rice sophomore Natalie Beazant downed North Carolina's Caroline Price 6-1, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the women's singles competition at the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championships at the Atkins Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Illinois, Champaign on Friday.
Beazant is the first Rice women's tennis player to reach the advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in the history of the program. William Barker was the last Rice men's tennis player to reach the quarterfinals (2003). She will face Alabama's Alexa Guarachi at noon on Saturday, looking to become the first Rice tennis player (man or woman) to reach the semifinals in either singles or doubles since the NCAA adopted the current championship format in 1977.
Beazant was in control from the start of the match, breaking Price in her last three service games of the first set and then winning the last four games of the second to improve her spring singles record to 21-4.
"Today was another solid performance by Natalie," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "We wanted her to make it a physical match and she did a nice job executing from the first point on. It should be a really great match tomorrow against Alabama and she's looking forward to the challenge."
"It's been exciting to hear from all the Rice fans after each match," Beazant said. "It's been a little crazy but it's great to see the support."
Guarachi entered NCAA singles play ranked 36th in the ITA rankings. She upset second seeded Sabrina Santamaria of USC in the second round and ground out a three-set win over TCU's Stefanie Tan to reach the quarterfinals.