URBANA, Ill. --- North Carolina's Gina Suarez-Malaguti, Zoe De Bruycker and Caroline Price advanced to the second round of the NCAA Singles Championship with wins Wednesday at the Atkins Tennis Center at the University of Illinois. Carolina has three players in the final 32 for the first time since 2003 and just the second time in school history.
Suarez-Malaguti, the event's No. 7 seed, opened her first NCAA singles tournament with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 34 Mary Anne Macfarlane of Alabama. The Tar Heel senior dropped the opening two games of the match before storming back to win six straight and take the first set. Suarez-Malaguti will face No. 40 Beatrice Gumulya of Clemson in Thursday's second round.
De Bruycker was also a straight-set winner, topping No. 42 Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State, 6-4, 7-5. The Saratoga, Calif., product, who is in her third NCAA singles event, will also face an opponent from Clemson in No. 9-16 seed Yana Koroleva. The two ACC foes met in the fall at the Furman Fall Classic with De Bruycker winning in three sets.
Price was Carolina's third winner of the day in the afternoon session, grinding out a tough three-set victory over No. 50 Lacey Smyth of Arizona, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2. The Duluth, Ga., sophomore will face No. 9-16 seed Julie Elbaba of Virginia on Thursday.
UNC freshman Whitney Kay was also in action Wednesday, falling in two sets to No. 43 Klara Fabikova of Cal, 7-5, 6-2. The loss ends Kay's season with a record of 31-14 that featured 19 dual match victories and nine wins over ranked opponents. The Alpharetta, Ga., newcomer was also the ITA Carolina Region Rookie of the Year and the ITA National Team Indoor Championship MVP.
NCAA Round of 64
#7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti, UNC (7) def. #34 Mary Anne Macfarlane, ALA, 6-2, 6-4
#49 Zoe De Bruycker, UNC def. #42 Abigail Tere-Apisah, GAST, 6-4, 7-5
#46 Caroline Price, UNC def. #50 Lacey Smyth, ARIZ, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2
#43 Klara Fabikova, CAL def. #39 Whitney Kay, UNC, 7-5, 6-2