FORT MYERS, Fla. – It was a standout day for the FGCU women’s tennis team as they took to the courts on the first day of the Hilton Garden Inn Eagle Invite on Saturday. Three Eagle freshmen each advanced to the semifinals of their respective flights by defeating players from the University of Missouri.
Freshman Bibiana Almeida (Porto, Portugal), competing in Flight 7, fought back after losing the first set to defeat Missouri’s Maureen Modesto, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8. Almeida talked about the win, saying, “I managed to turn it around. I had to be very patient and in the end I was able to put it together and play aggressively.”
On the other end of Flight 7, freshman Morgan Bechtel (Toledo, Ohio) battled it out with Missouri senior Kristen Bleakley, winning, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 10-8. Bechtel said, “I just hung in there and kept competing until I finally pulled it out.”
Also, freshmen Farah Leclercq (Ocala, Fla.) defeated Missouri’s Kaitlyn Ritchie, 7-5, 7-5, to advance to the semifinals of Flight 5.
“I am extremely proud of the way our team competed today,” said Coach Gabou “They fought hard and although we did not win all of our matches individually, the hard work is beginning to pay off.”
In Flight 2, senior Priscillia Villemond (Les Bordes, France) lost to Northwestern State’s Olga Bazhanova, 6-2, 6-4, while junior Jessica Sweeting (Freeport, Bahamas) fell to Stephanie Roy of Arkansas, 6-3, 6-1.
Sophomore Katharine Evans (Fort Myers, Fla.) lost to Missouri’s Maria Christensen, 6-4, 6-2, while junior Iris Rendon (San Antonio, Tex.) was defeated by South Florida’s Allyn Mueller, 6-4, 7-5 (3).
In other action, with the exception of injury, all five remaining USF players advanced to the semifinals of singles Flights 1-4 with ranked players Ecaterina Vasenina and Irene Reheberger winning in straight sets. The Bulls also advanced all three doubles teams into the semifinals of Flights 1-3.
The Hilton Garden Inn Eagle Invite will continue tomorrow at the FGCU Tennis Complex, with doubles play beginning at 8:00 a.m., followed by semifinals of the main and consolation singles flights. Admission is free to the public.