ATHENS-----Four Bulldogs return to fall tournament action Friday in Portland, Oregon at the USTA Collegiate Invitational. Juniors Kate Fuller and Maho Kowase along with sophomore Lauren Herring and freshman Makenzie Craft will be in the singles and doubles draws. Herring has posted a 13-1 singles record this fall including capturing the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional title in Tampa earlier this month. Kowase is 14-3 in singles while Fuller is 9-2 and Craft is 7-3. The Fuller/Herring tandem, ranked No. 30, is 11-2 and recently won the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional doubles title. Kowase and Craft have a 2-0 record as a team. With the ITA regional titles, Herring and Fuller earned a spot in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships slated for Nov. 8-11 in New York. Also, Kowase received a singles wild card to the national tournament.
“We’ve had an outstanding fall so far, and we’ve got a couple of big tournaments left,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace
. “This should be a fantastic event, and we’re looking forward to competing in Portland.”
The field in Portland includes 16 players ranked in the top 125 including ninth-ranked Emina Bektas (Michigan) and No. 37 Kowase. Herring checks in at No. 53 and Fuller at No. 62. Along with Georgia
’s entries, the field consists of players from Duke, Michigan, Texas A&M, UCLA, Washington and host Portland along with eight juniors currently in the USTA Player Development program.
The three-day tournament, held at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, features a unique singles format with the field consisting of college student-athletes and junior players. There will be eight pools containing four players with each pool made up of three college players and one junior. Each player will have one singles match daily (best two-out-of-three sets), and the winner of each pool will go in to a single elimination 10-point tiebreaker “shootout” on Sunday. The winner of the shootout will receive a wildcard to a future USTA Pro Circuit event designated by USTA Player Development.
In the first round of singles, Kowase faces Stefania Hristov (Texas A&M) while Craft battles 27th-ranked Marianne Jodoin (Duke). Fuller will play Andjela Mecevic (Washington) and Herring takes on Saroop Dhatt (Portland).
The doubles format will feature a 16-team draw with consolation. Each team will be guaranteed three matches, and all matches will be pro sets. The doubles final is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. PT while singles will wrap up Sunday.
The Fuller/Herring team is the top seed. In the first round, they will play Tori Troesch and Milagros Cubelli (Portland) while the Kowase/Craft team face Kimberly Yee and Dasha Ivanova of the USTA junior program. Michigan’s fifth-ranked duo of Bektas and Brooke Bolender is the second seed at the event.