Bektas Captures Singles Title at ITA Midwest Regional
Emina Bektas

Oct. 25, 2011

Site: Columbus, Ohio (Varsity Tennis Center)
Event: USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships (Main Draw)
U-M Team Result: No Team Scoring
Next U-M Event: Thu-Sun, Nov. 3-6 -- at USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships (Flushing, N.Y.); Fri-Sun, Nov. 4-6 -- at ASU Thunderbird (Tempe, Ariz.)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) of the University of Michigan women's tennis team defeated Northwestern's No. 58-ranked Brittany Wowchuk, 6-4, 6-2, to capture the singles title at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships on Tuesday morning (Oct. 25) at Ohio State's Varsity Tennis Center. As the regional singles champion, Bektas earns automatic selection to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

On serve in the first set, Bektas broke the Wildcat player in the seventh game, gaining a 4-3 advantage before claiming three of the final four games to win, 6-4. She broke Wowchuk early in the second set and again in the fifth game to cruise to a 6-2 decision. Bektas, ranked No. 9 among the ITA's freshman/newcomer poll, held serve throughout the championship match. She is the first Michigan player in program history to capture the ITA Midwest Regional singles title.

On Monday (Oct. 24), Bektas defeated another pair of ranked opponents to advance to the championship match. She rallied past Northwestern No. 53 Kate Turvy in the semifinals, winning the last 11 consecutive points to surge to a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (0) decision. In the quarterfinal round, Bektas knocked off Notre Dame's No. 38-ranked Shannon Matthews, 6-3, 6-4. The Wolverine rookie is 8-2 in her first collegiate season and owns four wins against nationally ranked opposition.

All six Michigan participants earned at least one victory in the singles main draw. Sophomore Sam Critser (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View HS) posted a 2-1 record, joining Bektas in the quarterfinal round before dropping a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Northwestern's Turvy.

In doubles play, Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan HS) advanced to the semifinal round, where they narrowly lost to Northwestern's No. 3-ranked tandem Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, 9-7, to bow out with a 3-1 record. Among their victories, Bektas and Bolender earned back-to-back decisions over Big Ten pairings from Illinois and Ohio State. The Wolverine duo, ranked No. 17 in the ITA preseason poll, is 6-4 on the season.

Bektas will appear in the prestigious USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, which is scheduled for Nov. 3-6 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The rest of the Wolverines will wrap up fall tournament action at the ASU Thunderbird, Nov. 4-6, at Arizona State's Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe, Ariz.


No. 9 Emina Bektas
Saturday, Oct. 22 (First Round) -- Bye
Saturday, Oct. 22 (Second Round) -- d. Katherine White (Notre Dame), 6-3, 6-3
Sunday, Oct. 23 (Third Round) -- d. Olga Shukundina (Akron), 7-5, 7-6 (0)
Monday, Oct. 24 (Quarterfinals) -- d. No. 38 Shannon Matthews (Notre Dame), 6-3, 6-4
Monday, Oct. 24 (Semifinals) -- d. No. 53 Kate Turvy (Northwestern), 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (0)
Tuesday, Oct. 25 (Final) -- d. No. 58 Brittany Wowchuk (Northwestern), 6-4, 6-2

No. 48 Sam Critser
Saturday, Oct. 22 (First Round) -- Bye
Saturday, Oct. 22 (Second Round) -- d. Mariya Kovaleva (Illinois Chicago), 6-1, 6-1
Sunday, Oct. 23 (Third Round) -- d. Nicky Stracar (Wisconsin), 7-5, 7-5
Monday, Oct. 24 (Quarterfinals) -- l. No. 53 Kate Turvy (Northwestern), 6-2, 6-2

Mimi Nguyen
Saturday, Oct. 22 (First Round) -- Bye
Saturday, Oct. 22 (Second Round) -- d. Breanne Smutko (Illinois), 7-6, 6-1
Sunday, Oct. 23 (Third Round) -- l. No. 58 Brittany Wowchuk (Northwestern), 6-2, 6-1

Kristen Dodge
Saturday, Oct. 22 (First Round) -- l. Olga Shukundina (Akron), 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
Saturday, Oct. 22 (Consolation) -- d. Tiffany Dittmer (Ohio State), 6-3, 6-1
Sunday, Oct. 23 (Consolation) -- d. Anna Livaduru (Northwestern), 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-2)

Sarah Lee
Saturday, Oct. 22 (First Round) d. Miriam Westerink (Eastern Michigan), 6-0, 6-3
Saturday, Oct. (Second Round) l. Amy Allin (Illinois), 7-5, 6-3

Michelle Sulahian
Saturday, Oct. 22 (First Round) -- d. Kelsey Lawson (DePaul), 7-6, 6-3
Saturday, Oct. 22 (Second Round) -- l. No. 3 Kristy Frilling (Notre Dame), 6-4, 6-2


No. 17 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender
Friday, Oct. 21 (First Round) -- Bye
Friday, Oct. 21 (Second Round) -- d. Alex Forsyth/Marcy Huck (IPFW), 8-2
Saturday, Oct. 22 (Third Round) -- d. Maria Lambropoulos/Allison Falkin (Illinois), 8-6
Sunday, Oct. 23 (Quarterfinals) -- vs. Kara Cecil/Kelsey Dieters (Ohio State), 8-4
Sunday, Oct. 23 (Semifinals) -- l. No. 3 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Nida Hamilton (Northwestern), 9-7

Sam Critser/Sarah Lee
Friday, Oct. 21 (First Round) -- d. Amanda Dibbs/Shannon Brooks (Eastern Illinois), 8-1
Friday, Oct. 21 (Second Round) -- l. Zara Harutyunyun/Prang Pantusart (Akron), 8-5

Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian
Friday, Oct. 21 (First Round) -- Bye
Friday, Oct. 21 (Second Round) -- l. Kelsey Haviland/Noelle Malley (Ohio State), 8-5


• Michigan has boasted a finalist at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships in each of the last two seasons. Last year, Denise Muresan advanced to the final before falling to Notre Dame's Kristy Frilling, 6-2, 7-6 (2).

• Three of Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender's four doubles losses have come against top-15 opposition. The fourth came against the No. 30-ranked tandem.


Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein
On the championship match ... "Emina served really well, and that's really the key for her. She made a lot of first serves, and she was holding serve pretty handily. That loosened her up a bit on the return game. [Brittany] Wowchuk served well to start, but then she just missed a couple of first serves. Emina played a good game to break her in the first set at 3-3. She got a break early in the second then went up two breaks and kind of steamrolled a little bit at the end. She played aggressively and just played at a really high level today."

On Bektas' potential and contribution to the team ... "She's just a great kid. She's fun to be around. She's super athletic. She can get even better, which is really exciting. There are little things that she can improve on with her return game, her movement, coming to the net a little more. She's fun to have on the team. She's got a big game. We're definitely glad she's on our team."

On Bektas' breakthrough weekend ... "She lost a couple close ones early on. For her, it's more the mental part of it and staying positive throughout the whole match. I think those two matches that she lost, she got a little negative, and we've talked about that. She's going to be in every match she plays, so the more positive she can be in those clutch moments, the better she's going to get."

U-M Freshman Emina Bektas
On her championship performance ... "Going into today's match, I knew I had get a high percentage of first serves in, because that's one of my biggest weapons. I tried to be a lot more aggressive with my return in this match, because last match I wasn't breaking as easily and Ronni was really telling me to go after it and be aggressive. I definitely played well and consistent and just ended up on top."

On her comeback in the semifinals ... "I wasn't playing my best in the first set. I lost my serve early, and I knew I had to turn it around after that. I had a break early on in the third set but I lost it. I was down 6-5 when I just started playing a lot more carefree and going after the ball. I felt like I had a lot of momentum going into the tiebreaker. With my serve, I knew all I had to do was get a mini break. I played some really solid points and it just went from there."

On her confidence ... "I really feel like I can play with some of the best players out there. It all depends on showing up and playing the best I can, getting my first serve in, going after every ball and fighting through the match. I felt like I'd been playing well coming into this weekend, and this was a big boost going into New York next week. I'm really excited."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423