Graham Runner-Up in ITA Regional Singles; Graham, Sahdiieva Runner-Up in Doubles
BATON ROUGE, La. – Kinaa Graham and Anita Sahdiieva wrapped up their campaigns in the ITA Southern Regional on Tuesday inside the LSU Tennis Complex. Graham finished runner-up in the singles draw in the morning while Graham and Sahdiieva narrowly fell in the doubles final to finish runner-up in the afternoon.
The final matches on Tuesday brought an end to the 2023 ITA Southern Regional, which saw the LSU Tennis Complex host 21 schools over six days and play a full qualifying and main draw for singles and doubles as well as numerous consolation draw matches.
“First of all, I want to thank Ben Hershey and the countless staff that allowed us to put on a first class event showcasing our amazing facilities,” head coach Taylor Fogleman said. “Our ladies got exactly what we wanted out of the long weekend: an immense amount of great competition. We won quite a lot over these past six days and huge congratulations are in order for Kinaa making the final, Anita and Aran reaching semifinals in singles and our success in doubles.”
ITA Southern Regional – Singles Final
Graham faced graduate student Petra Sedlackova of Alabama in the singles final. Sedlackova showed her experience and opened the match with a strong 6-0 win in the first set. The script was flipped in the second set though, as Graham dropped the first game but then won six of the next seven to claim a 6-2 win and force a third set. The third set saw Sedlackova take the lead early and stay on top as she went on to win 6-1 and claim the ITA Southern Regional singles title for the first time in her career.
The run brought an end to a tremendous run of play for Graham, who earned five solid wins in the build up to the final. With her runner-up finish, Graham qualifies for the ITA Fall National Championships, one of the most prestigious tournaments hosted by the ITA.
Going back to September 30 when she began play at the ITA All-American Championships tournament, Graham tallied a 10-2 singles record over an 11 day span playing against strong competition in both tournaments. The freshman is 12-3 in singles in three tournaments this fall, a team-high.
ITA Southern Regional – Doubles Finals
Graham returned to the court alongside Sahdiieva for the doubles final in the afternoon as they took on Mississippi State’s pairing of graduate student Alexandra Mikhailuk and freshman Athina Pitta. The Tiger duo dominated in the first set, only dropping one game as they went on to win, 6-1. The second set saw the Bulldogs fall behind, but rally with consecutive games to tie it at 5-5 and then win two straight to secure a 7-5 win and force a ten-point tiebreaker to decide the final. The tiebreaker had the Bulldogs stay on top and finish strong with a 10-5 win to secure the doubles titles, the first regional title for both athletes.
Graham and Sahdiieva’s run to the final saw them take down the No. 4 seed in the region in the quarterfinal and then the No. 2 seed in the semifinal, finishing with an overall record of 4-1. The runner-up finish sees the duo qualify for the ITA Fall National Championships set to begin on November 1 in San Diego, California.
“We’re certainly pleased with the progress we’ve made thus far this fall,” Fogleman said, “but we have a great deal that we can improve upon. Chris (Simpson), Rebeka (Mertena) and I really like where this group is headed.”
The Tigers return to collegiate action on October 27 when they open the Roberta Alison Fall Classic, hosted by the university of Alabama. Prior to that, a select group of players will head to Jackson, Tennessee to participate in the ITF W15 Jackson professional tournament beginning on October 16.
For more information on the LSU women’s tennis program follow the Tigers on Twitter @lsuwten , on Instagram @LSUWTen , and on www.Facebook.com/lsuwten.
ITA Southern Regional – Day 6
Oct. 10, 2023
Baton Rouge, La. (LSU Tennis Complex)
Petra Sedlackova (ALA) def. Kinaa Graham (LSU), 6-0, 2-6, 6-1
Alexandra Mikhailuk/Athina Pitta (MSU) def. Anita Sahdiieva/Kinaa Graham (LSU), 1-6, 7-5, 10-5