URBANA, Ill. – Texas freshman Breaunna Addison upset the nation’s ninth-ranked player while UT senior Aeriel Ellis toughed out a lengthy straight-sets win, as the pair advanced to the second round of the singles competition Wednesday at the NCAA Championships.
In terms of the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) singles rankings, Addison pulled off her biggest win of the season, as she rallied for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over USC’s ninth-ranked Danielle Lao. Addison advances to Thursday’s round of 32 in the singles draw where she will meet Miami’s Stephanie Wagner (8 a.m. CT). Addison would secure ITA singles All-America status with a win over Wagner.
Already a two-time ITA singles All-American, Ellis began her quest for a third consecutive All-America honor with a gritty 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over North Carolina State’s Joelle Kissell. A win on Thursday over Rice’s Natalie Beazant (9 a.m. CT) would make Ellis an ITA singles All-American for the third time. Live video for all singles matches will be available at FightingIllini.com, unless inclement weather forces the matches indoors.
Addison and Lao began their match outdoors before thunderstorms forced the contest to be moved indoors roughly midway through the match. Lao cruised to a 6-1 first-set win, and while the second set began outdoors, it would end indoors. Lao and Addison were knotted at four in the second set before Addison held serve and broke Lao to win the set, 6-4.
Addison broke Lao for a 4-2 lead in the third set and ultimately won the set, 6-3 to seal the victory.
Ellis trailed N.C. State’s Kissell 4-1 in the first set before running off four straight games for a 5-4 lead. Kissell broke Ellis to even the set at five and held serve for a 6-5 lead. Ellis held serve to force a tiebreaker, which she won, 7-3.
Kissell opened the second set by breaking Ellis’ serve and holding serve for a 2-0 lead. Ellis held serve to pull within 2-1 and broke Kissell’s serve to even the set at two. Ellis held for a 3-2 lead and broke Kissell for a 4-2 cushion, but Kissell broke back and closed within 4-3. Ellis broke Kissell once more for a 5-3 lead, but Kissell broke Ellis’ serve and held to pull even at five games apiece.
Ellis held serve to take a 6-5 second-set lead and produced one more service break to win the match. Ellis roped a crosscourt, passing backhand winner to set up two break points for the win. Ellis smacked a forehand into the net on the first match point, but Kissell returned the favor on the next point to give Ellis the victory.
The 32-team doubles competition begins Thursday at the NCAA Championships. After her round-of-32 singles match, Addison and UT sophomore Noel Scott will meet Arizona State’s Nicole Smith and Jacqueline Cako in the opening round of doubles (start time released later this evening at NCAA.com).
NCAA Championships – Round of 64
Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center – Urbana, Ill.
No. 31 Breaunna Addison (UT) def. No. 9 Danielle Lao (USC) – 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
No. 37 Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. No. 53 Joelle Kissell (NCSU) – 7-6 (3), 7-5