Rachael White advanced to the doubles championship match alongside Melissa Kopinski Sunday at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional.
Oct. 21, 2012
URBANA, Ill. - Fighting Illini senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski advanced to the doubles final of the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional on Sunday at Atkins Tennis Center, while junior Allison Falkin reached the singles quarterfinals.
"It was a pretty exciting doubles match, coming down to a tiebreaker," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "I was so impressed with Rachael and Melissa playing to win. In those tight situations, they managed to get to the net and went after their serves. That was a difference-maker. It comes down to just going after it with good positioning and finishing off the match by being at the net."
Second-seeded White and Kopinski narrowly edged Northwestern's eighth-seeded duo Veronica Corning and Belinda Niu, 9-8(5), in quarterfinals. The pair came away with a 9-8(3) win in a thrilling battle with 10th-seeded Jennifer Kellner and Chrissie McGaffigan of Notre Dame in the following round.
With the win, the Orange and Blue tandem will play fourth-seeded and 36th-ranked Irish duo Julie Sabacinski and Britney Sanders for the opportunity to play at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships later this fall.
In singles, Falkin, who is ranked 82nd in the nation and seeded sixth in the tournament, cruised to a quick 6-1, 6-4 win over Notre Dame's Quinn Gleason.
"Allison is just a very good and very smart tennis player," Dasso said. "Her composure is something she has worked on the last two years at Illinois, and it showed today. It was a huge reason why she was successful."
Kopinski could not translate her doubles momentum to the singles court, dropping a 6-4, 7-6(3) decision to ninth-seeded Belinda Niu of Northwestern.
"Melissa let one slip away that I think she could have had," Dasso said. "She was striking the ball really well, but she needs to work on bringing that same confidence that she has in doubles to singles as well."
Doubles and singles champions will earn automatic bids to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which will take place Nov. 8-11 at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
White and Kopinski will return to action tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT for the doubles final, and Falkin will take the court at 11 a.m. for singles quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: Melissa Kopinski/Rachael White (ILL) def. 8 Veronica Corning/Belinda Niu (NU) 9-8(5)
Semifinals: Melissa Kopinski/Rachael White (ILL) def. Jennifer Kellner/Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) 9-8(3)
Audrey O'Connor/Julia Jamieson (ILL) def. Lauren Hankle/Annina Brendel (YSU) 8-3