This weekend, the country’s best collegiate tennis players are flocking to the USTA Billie Jean National King Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open, for the final tournament of the preseason—the USTA/ITA Indoor Nationals. Columbia, host for the third year in a row, will be sending senior Nicole Bartnik and juniors Bianca Sanon and Tiana Takenaga as tournament wildcards.
The tournament consists of 32 singles draws and 20 doubles teams from 27 colleges and universities across the U.S. Players are chosen from preseason rankings and the regional and the All-American tournaments. Unlike the men’s competition, the women’s competition is less diverse in college representation, due to multiple schools sending more than one player.
The Lions will see some familiar faces in the competition. Penn’s Sol Eskenazi and Sonya Latycheva, who defeated Sanon and Takenaga in the Northeast Regional finals in late October, will be present, as will USC’s Zoe Scandalis, who defeated Bartnik in her second-round match at the All-American Championships. Also competing will be Princeton’s Amanda Muliawan, who defeated Light Blue freshman Kanika Vaidya during the finals of the Northeast Regional Championships.
Though last year’s National Indoor singles champions have graduated, the competition for the title remains tough. Florida’s Lauren Embree, the 2012 All-American Championships singles winner, UCLA’s Robin Anderson, winner of the Southwest Region singles title, and North Carolina’s Gina Suarez-Malaguti are all undefeated this season.
In doubles, USC’s Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria will be defending their title from last year.