LAS VEGAS, Nev. --- Senior Gina Suarez-Malaguti won two matches and advanced to the singles final at the Freeman Memorial Championships Saturday at UNLV's Fertitta Tennis Complex. Suarez-Malaguti defeated teammate Tessa Lyons in the quarterfinals before topping No. 14 Danielle Lao of USC in straight sets in the semis.
Suarez-Malaguti and Lao traded breaks throughout the first set before going to a tiebreak. Suarez-Malaguti took the tiebreak, 7-4, but the USC senior responded quickly to take a 3-0 lead in the second set. The No. 11-ranked Tar Heel bounced right back, however, and evened the set at 3. After trading holds, Suarez-Malaguti got a break to go up 5-4 and serve for the match. After failing to capitalize on her first match point at 40-15, the Pembroke Pines, Fla., standout won a marathon point to take the match, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
In doubles action, Ashley Dai and Whitney Kay steamrolled Stanford's Krista Hardebeck and Natalie Dillon, 8-2, to earn a spot in tomorrow's semifinals. Lauren McHale and Tessa Lyons hung tough with the nation's top doubles team of USC's Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria. Down 7-6, the Tar Heel duo lost match point on the new no-ad scoring system for doubles.
Play concludes Sunday with the final two rounds of doubles as well as the singles final and a number of other added and consolation matches.
#11 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Danielle Lao (USC), 7-6 (4), 6-4
FLIGHT ONE DOUBLES
(1) #1 Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria (USC) def. #51 Lauren McHale/Tessa Lyons (UNC) 8-6
(3) Pamela Montez/Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) def. Zoe De Bruycker/Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) 8-3
(2) Ashley Dai/Whitney Kay (UNC) def. Krista Hardebeck/Natalie Dillon (STAN) 8-2
ADDED SINGLES MATCHES
Alex Cercone (UF) def. #111 Lauren McHale (UNC) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
(7) #28 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC) def. Julia Metzger (UO) 6-3, 6-2
(5) #21 Whitney Kay (UNC) def. Patricia Skowronski (UO) 6-2, 5-7, 6-1
Kaitlyn Christian (USC) def. Laura Slater (UNC) 6-1, 6-0