As the wind speed increased, so did the intensity level of two matches in the first round. Leslie Hansen of MIT pulled off the first upset of the NCAA Singles Championships by defeating #3-seed Jordan Hook of Wheaton College (Illinois) in a tight 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4) match. Julia Browne of Tufts outlasted Janelle Arita of DePauw in a long three-set 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 victory.
Hansen played “one of her best matches ever” according to MIT head coach Carol Matsuzaki. “She was nervous going into the match, but it helped her to be aggressive. That is a big part of her game. She went after her forehand and had a high first-serve percentage, which is amazing considering the wind. Both players did a great job of playing the wind this morning.”
Hansen will play Lauren Caire of Washington and Lee in the second round.
Julia Browne stormed out to a quick 6-0 lead in the morning session over Janelle Arita. However, Arita showed her mental toughness by fighting to win the second set 7-5. Both players moved each other around the court with tough angles, a variety of speeds and spins, combined with net play to the all-around games they had.
In the decisive third set, Browne held a 4-2 lead before Arita evened the match at 4-4. Browne and Arita played a lengthy service game with Browne serving. After four deuces and 14 points, Browne took a 5-4 lead at the changeover. Arita held a 40-30 advantage after being down 0-30 before Browne won the next three points for the game, the set, and the match.
The bottom four matches of the first round are still in play, but the second round will begin shortly.