September 18, 2016

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Sarah Candeloro set the tone for another strong showing for the University of Tennessee at Martin tennis team, as the senior claimed championship honors in the top singles flight at the APSU Fall Invitational.

As a team, eight Skyhawks combined to go 11-7 in singles play and 6-4 in doubles play this weekend against competition from host Austin Peay, Murray State, Central Arkansas and Lewis University.

A two-time All-OVC recipient from Dover, Del., Candeloro went a perfect 4-0 in Flight 1 singles play en route to her title. She defeated Central Arkansas’ Rada Manataweewat by a 6-3, 6-4 margin in Friday’s opening round before turning away Lewis’ Nora Mindiyarova (6-0, 6-2) that evening. Candeloro then downed the Austin Peay duo of Claudia Yanes Garcia (6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals) and Lidia Yanes Garcia (6-3, 6-2 in the finals) on Saturday to earn the championship.

Burcu Tari claimed the Flight 1 singles consolation championship after posting a 3-1 mark. After losing a narrow 6-3, 6-7 (2), 10-6 decision to Lewis’ Dora Andrejszki in the opening round, Tari reeled off victories against Central Arkansas’ Amiru Shimoguchi (6-3, 6-4), Murray State’s Amina Hadzic (6-1, 6-0) and Central Arkansas’ Qili Ma (7-5, 1-6, 10-8).

Also taking part in the Flight 1 singles bracket was Asel Jumamukhambetova and Andrea Plantada Cortes. Jumamukhambetova gutted out a 6-7 (4), 6-0, 10-7 win over Hadzic before falling by a 6-3, 6-1 margin to Lidia Yades Garcia. Plantada Cortes battled until the end but ultimately came up just short against Jui Yun Chang (7-6 (5), 6-1) of Murray State and Ma (6-4, 6-4).

The trio of Jemima Potter, Olha Burak and Elina Geut represented UT Martin in Flight 2 singles. Potter reached the semifinals after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Lewis’ Megan Conlin and a 6-2, 6-0 triumph against Murray State’s Jeanna Masson. Potter then fell to eventual flight champion Marli Van Heerden from Central Arkansas. Burak came away with a 4-6, 6-2, 10-8 win over Murray State’s Sara Bjork in the first round before dropping a 6-1, 6-1 decision to eventual flight runner-up Ana Albertson. Geut received a bye into the second round before falling to Austin Peay’s Brittney Covington (6-2, 6-2).

The Skyhawks enjoyed immense success in doubles action. Hitomi Naito and Tari advanced all the way to the flight championship round. After receiving a bye in the opening round, Naito and Tari turned away the duos of Central Arkansas’ Ma/Manataweewat (6-1) and Austin Peay’s Lidia Yanes Garcia/Helena Kuppig (6-4) before falling to Central Arkansas’ Shimoguchi/Van Heerden by a 6-3 margin in the finals.

After falling in their opening rounds, Potter/Jumamukhambetova and Geut/Burak each posted winning streaks that led to a would-be matchup in the consolation final. Potter/Jumamukhambetova narrowly fell to Murray State’s Chang/Alina Schibol by a 7-6 (4) margin before sweeping Murray State’s Bjork/Hannah Rickard, 6-0. The Skyhawk team of Geut/Burak began with a 6-2 loss to Andrejszki/Mindiyarova of Lewis but they soon recovered with a 6-1 win over Murray State’s Hadzic/Masson. An all-UT Martin final was set after Potter/Jumamukhambetova clinched a 6-3 win over Austin Peay’s Albertson/Jovanovic and Geut/Burak posted a 6-0 victory over Lewis’ Conlin/Hailey Bruining but the two sides did not meet because they are representatives from the same school.

Candeloro and Plantada Cortes also participated in the flight doubles tournament but was limited to just one match, a 6-1 loss to eventual champions Shimoguchi/Van Heerden of Central Arkansas.

The Skyhawks continue their fall season on Sept. 30-Oct. 2 when they visit the Evansville Metro Collegiate Invitational.

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