K-State Ready for ITA Central Region Tournament

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State tennis team travels south on Wednesday for the week-long Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Region Tournament at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa.


Fernanda Da Valle, Tereza Prochazkova and Natasha Vieira begin play on Wednesday with the single-elimination pre-qualifying round of the tournament. Olga Klimova, Katerina Kudlackova, Tamar Kvaratskhelia, and Viviana Yrureta will begin play on Thursday in the tournament’s main draw.


For the first time this fall, Kansas State will send seven players into competition after numerous injuries riddled the roster in previous weeks. Da Valle, who missed the first two months with an injured foot, will be making her first competitive appearance of the fall.


“It’s been a slow, gradual process in a lot of ways - getting healthier, some of the stuff we’re doing in our training,” K-State head coach Steve Bietau said. “Day by day things keep getting better and the team looks stronger.”


Kansas State was given four slots in the main draw, one more than last year’s total of three, and the Wildcats will be led by Yrureta. Yrureta’s 5-1 record is tops among K-State players and the junior from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela has won five consecutive matches, including the top flight championship at the Indiana Hoosier Invitational.


“Vivi’s playing great this fall. We’ve had a lot of places where we’ve seen progress. In some of those cases it’s been that they’ve been hurt and they’re making progress getting back. The work that’s been required to get where they are has been significant, it’s been good,” Bietau said. “In Vivi’s case, it’s playing great and you get to see the results of it.”


Bietau has seen marked improvement in the Wildcats across the board and is pleased with the progress the team has made so far this fall.


“I think Tereza has made some big jumps since last year and is clearly playing a lot better. Natasha looks like a different player than she did six weeks ago,” Bietau said. “We’re making a lot of progress and I think as players get healthier, then more and more we’re going to see that translated into results.” 


The Central Region Tournament is the third event for the Wildcats this fall, also competing at the Kansas State Invitational and the Hoosier Classic. The tournament runs through Sunday with the winners gaining a berth into the ITA National Indoor Tournament.


“This is the big event of the fall season for our region - it’s the qualifier for the national indoors,” Bietau said. “We use it more as a development tool for our players. If someone does real well individually that’s great but we’ve got a lot of other things we can get done in this tournament. In the case of someone like Vivi, who is playing pretty sharp right now, then we’ll look for results a little bit more there. It’s a chance for her to really get tested.”