Lonely at Top: Only Bergman Advances at ITAs

Sophomore Courtney Bergman was the lone member of the Harvard women’s tennis team to advance into the main draw of the ITA All-Americans after two days of qualifying round play.

Freshman Eva Wang also remains in Pacific Palisades, Calif., having won in her first consolation match yesterday. The other Crimson representatives were knocked out of the tournament and will rejoin the rest of the team in Cambridge prior to ECAC action this weekend.

“The field [at the ITAs] is extremely, extremely tough,” said sophomore Alexis Martire, who fell in the qualifying round Tuesday. “Whether you win or lose, you always come out of it winning something because of the high level of competition that attracts the best players around.”

In her first singles match, No. 3 seed Bergman defeated Aleksendra Durska of Tulsa University in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. Bergman’s victory marked the first time that Durska has lost in singles play this year.

Durska, a senior, is a three-time Western Athletic Conference all-conference player in both singles and doubles. Durska also holds her school record for the most singles wins, boasting a 93-29 mark prior to this year’s ITA competition.

In her second singles match, Bergman settled down in the second set against UNLV freshman Gyorgi Zsiros to take the match 7-6 (2), 6-2.

In her final match in singles action, Bergman defeated Miami sophomore Mari Toro 6-3, 6-2, to qualify for the main draw.

Bergman’s doubles partner and classmate, Susanna Lingman defeated her first singles opponent in a grueling 6-3, 7-6 (3) victory over Erin Boisclair of Washington. Boisclair had advanced to the qualifying round as a “lucky loser” following a defeat in the prequalifying round over the weekend.

Lingman was not as fortunate in her second match, falling to the No. 14 seed, Illinois junior Jennifer McGaffigan, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Martire also saw an early exit from the singles bracket, losing to the No. 6 seed, Manon Kruse of Middle Tennessee, 6-2, 6-3. Kruse led the entire match.

“She was very overpowering,” Martire said. “I was just a little shell-shocked.

“One of my strengths has always been my power,” she added. “She had the edge over me. I’m not used to that.”

The Crimson’s final entry into the qualifiers was Wang, who fell victim to the No. 5 seed, Zerene Reyes, in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.

Wang won her consolation match against Kentucky’s Natalie Roels, 6-4, 6-0, and will have two more matches in the consolation bracket starting today.

Wang said she managed to stay loose in her first national competition at the collegiate level.

“I was able to focus on my own game and the ball, not my competitor,” Wang said.

Meanwhile, the doubles tandem of Bergman and Lingman held on for an 8-6 victory over the third-seeded pairing of Sara Walker and Jackie Carlton of UCLA.

In their next match, the sophomore duo faced another pair of second-year phenoms, Florida’s Alexis Gordon and Reyes. The outcome was not in Harvard’s favor, as the Florida team downed the Crimson team 8-3.

—Contributing writer John R. Hein can be reached at hein@fas.harvard.edu.