The Liberty Lady Flames tennis squad capped off day one of the Wild West Open on Friday in Denton, Texas, on the campus of North Texas. Liberty finished the day with a 14-4 record, including wins over top opponents such as No. 17 TCU and North Texas.
The Lady Flames began the competition by collecting two doubles victories. Lauren Mabe and Aleksandra Panchenko defeated Carla Cerdan and Valeria Lopez of UT Arlington by a score of 6-2 to advance to the doubles quarterfinals. The doubles tandem of Evangeline Crist and Valerie Thong picked up a 6-4 victory over the Seminole State College duo of Luisa Varon and Miranda Rodriguez.
Maria Khval and Anna Dollar were granted a first round bye and will square off against Agustina Valenzuela and Alexis Thoma of North Texas in the doubles quarterfinal tomorrow.
Liberty captured 12 singles wins throughout round one, including seven in the Flight A Singles draw. Dollar notched Liberty's first singles victory against Maria Kononova of North Texas, 6-2, 6-4, before falling to Sofiko Kadzhaya of TCU, 6-4, 6-4.
Belen Rivera picked up two singles victories en route to the Flight A Singles semifinal, defeating Rocio Fernandez de Camilo (6-4, 6-1) and North Texas' Tamuna Kutubidze (6-1, 6-2).
Khval and Crist combined to finish 4-0 during the day with both Lady Flames set to square off against each other in the Flight A Singles semifinals tomorrow. Crist's first victory was a three-set victory over Alexis Pereira, a top six competitor for the No. 17 TCU Horned Frogs. Crist claimed the first set by a score of 6-4 before falling 7-6 in the second set. The sophomore then bounced back and outdueled Pereira in the third set, 10-6. Crist then bested Thoma of North Texas, 6-1, 6-2.
Khval first downed Elizabeth Slaughter in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 before pulling ahead of Minying Liang in the quarterfinal, 6-3, 3-0. Liang was unable to continue in the second set.
In the Flight B Singles Draw, the Lady Flames finished 5-1, including four combined victories between Emily Groeneveld and Thong. Groeneveld defeated Juliana Hess in the first round, 6-0, 6-2. The junior then bested Laura Arciniegas of North Texas in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Arciniegas is currently ranked No. 721 in the WTA World Rankings.
Thong handled Valenzuela in three sets in the first round of the Flight B Singles Draw, 4-6, 6-2, 10-7. The senior then found herself in the semifinal round with Cerdan unable to compete in the second round. Thong will square off against Nastya Shestakova of North Texas in the semifinal round.
Panchenko notched a first round victory over Lopez, 6-2, 6-3 before falling to Kamilla Galieva in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 9-11.
"This was one of our best individual days of the fall," stated head coach Jeff Maren. "We remained composed and played confidently against very good opponents. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend!"
The second day of competition will begin at 10 a.m. ET with two rounds of doubles play. The singles semifinals will follow doubles action.