COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M women’s tennis team opens its fall season Friday at the Duke Fab Four Invitational to be played at the Cary Tennis Center in Cary, N.C.
Other teams competing in the three-day event are Alabama, Florida, Furman, Miami, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas and William & Mary.
"This weekend will give us a chance to get the proverbial train out of the competition station," Aggie head coach Howard Joffe said. "Some members of our group have played a fair amount over the summer, while others will need to shake of some rust. Either way, I expect everyone will be eager and ferocious in this strong event."
Joffe, entering his third season at the helm of the Aggies, returns five letterwinners from last year’s historic team that went 26-4, finished with a record-high No. 3 national ranking after advancing to the NCAA Championship match for the first time in school history, and was the Southeastern Conference champion along with perennial powers Florida and Georgia. He also welcomes four newcomers as he looks to fill the roles of last year’s seniors, two-time All-American Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, all-SEC selection Nazari Urbina and Wen Sun.
Cristina Stancu, the lone senior on the 2013-14 squad, and sophomore Stefania Hristov are No. 8 in the ITA preseason doubles rankings and have been invited to play in the doubles main draw at the 2013 Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships. Stancu is No. 48 in the preseason singles rankings and sophomores Ines Deheza and Anna Mamalat are No. 106 and 108, respectively, while freshman Rutuja Bhosale is listed 10th in the ITA’s freshman/newcomer rankings.
Along with Bhosale, freshman Jana McCord, a blue chip, five-star recruit from San Diego, also is slated to make her A&M debut at the tournament.
Four of A&M’s first-round singles matches will be against ranked opponents, including McCord’s opening match against 16th-ranked Sofie Oyen of Florida. Deheza faces No. 33 Whitney Kay of North Carolina, Hristov takes on 54th-ranked Kelsey Laurente of Miami, and Bhosale opens against No. 92 Tessa Lyons of North Carolina.
In addition, Mamalat plays Belinda Woolcock of Florida, and Stancu meets Pippa Horn of Texas.
McCord also drew a tough draw to open doubles as she and Mamalat go up against North Carolina’s 15th-ranked duo of Kay and Caroline Price. Bhosale and Deheza will face No. 42 Ashley Dai and Tessa Lyons also of North Carolina.
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