Bergman Advances at ITA Nationals

Courtney Bergman and Alexis Martire looked to round up the competition at the Omni Hotels National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships in Farmers Branch, Texas.

Bergman pulled out a victory in her first-round match, while Martire fell in her own. Originally scheduled to play exclusively in singles competition, the sophomore duo entered doubles play when the top-seeded Southern California team withdrew from the tournament due to injury.

“They [the tournament officials] were looking for the best team available because they didn’t have alternates like they usually do,” Harvard coach Gordon Graham said. “We were one of the few schools with two players at the tournament, and Courtney and Alexis had the highest combined singles rankings.”

Despite their best efforts, Bergman-Martire could not manage a victory on the doubles scene, falling laudably to the impressive Illinois team of Jennifer McGaffigan and Michelle Webb, 8-2. The Crimson could not handle the one-two punch of Webb’s monstrous serves and McGaffigan’s steady returns. McGaffigan and Webb became the first representatives Illinois has ever sent to the ITAs by winning the Midwest Regional Championship two weeks ago.

The Harvard duo lost its consolation match to Jill Buckley and Amy Trefethen of Kentucky, 8-3.

The defeats, however, were not as disappointing as might be expected.

“We had never played with each other,” Martire said. “That had a lot to do with it. Aside from the losses, I was just happy to play with Courtney. We had fun out there.”

In the first round of singles action, Bergman posted a solid straight-set victory against a familiar and difficult opponent, Urska Juric of Missouri, 6-2, 6-3, in a match that lasted over two hours.

“I didn’t play my best, but I played smart today, “Bergman said. “I worked the points, made a run and dictated the match.”

Earlier this year, Bergman defeated the Lady Miners’ senior at the All-American ITAs in Pacific Palisades, CA, in another high-quality match that took three sets to finish.

“Courtney’s match was just a knock-down, all-out battle of who was tougher,” Graham said. “She got down game point in a lot of different games, but always managed to come back and win the match.”

Martire did not fare as well in her first round match, falling to Alexis Gordon of Florida, 6-2, 6-2.

“I didn’t get a chance to get in a rhythm because she was on fire,” Martire said.

Gordon, a lefty with a power serve and a forehand to match, could not overpower the hard-hitting Martire. But when the Gator sophomore made mistakes, Martire couldn’t always capitalize on them.

“I think Alexis thought she had to out-slug her, which is not the way to beat her,” Graham said. “This was a match where if Alexis could get a few more shots in play and make her [Gordon] work a bit more, she could have won.”

Both Bergman and Martire continue play today.

Bergman faces off against Agata Cioroch of Georgia, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, in the quarterfinal round.

Martire will have her work cut out for her when she plays Vilmarie Castellvi in a consolation match. Castellvi, the No. 2 seed in the tournament and the nation’s top-ranked player, was upset in the first round by Northwestern’s Christine Grier, ranked No. 90 in the nation.

The Omni Hotels National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships are the second of three national championship tournaments, the last of which is the NCAA championships in May. The Omni Championships are also the last fall action for the women’s tennis team.