Women's Tennis
Resilient Wildcats Top Charlotte, Advance to ITA Kickoff Regional Final

Resilient Wildcats Top Charlotte, Advance to ITA Kickoff Regional Final

by Ben Slack

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., – Kentucky Women’s Tennis (4-0, 0-0 SEC) continued its undefeated start to the 2024 campaign with a gutsy 4-3 comeback victory over the Charlotte 49ers (2-3, 0-0 AAC). Today’s match served as the opening semifinal of the Chapel Hill Regional of the 2024 ITA Kickoff Weekend, advancing the Wildcats to tomorrow’s regional final, to be held at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Despite dropping the doubles point and falling behind 3-2, the Wildcats claimed points at each of the bottom four singles spots to earn the victory. With the win, Kentucky is now 2-0 against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.

Charlotte opened the match by claiming the doubles point, marking the first time this season that the Wildcats have started a dual with a deficit. The 49ers claimed the opening set at No. 1 doubles, as No. 36 Makayla Mills and Elizabeth Stevens fell in a tight 6-3 contest. The loss was the first of the season for Kentucky’s top pair.  The Wildcats responded on court 3, as Zoe Hammond and Julia Zhu continued their undefeated start to 2024 with a 7-5 victory. Doubles action would come down to court 2, as No. 25 Ellie Eades and Lidia Gonzalez played a near-80 minute match that would decide the dual’s first point. Despite breaking the 49er serve to send the match into a tiebreak, saving four match points in the breaker, and having four of their own, Eades and Gonzalez were unable to claim victory, falling 7-6 (12).

Facing their first deficit of the season, the Wildcats opened singles play by taking the first set on four of the six courts. Hammond, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla. was the first Wildcat to wrap up her singles match, tying the match at one with a clinical 6-1, 6-3 victory at the No. 4 slot. Hammond has now claimed a singles win in all four matches so far this season.

Sophomore breakout Ellie Myers gave Kentucky its first lead in the dual, as she wrapped up another straight sets win on court 6, winning 6-1, 6-4. Myers is now 4-0 in her collegiate dual career, with all four wins coming this season and in straight sets. Myers’ recent efforts have been quite clinical, at one point winning 28 of 31 games over a three-match span.

Charlotte would once again claim the lead in the dual, with wins on the top two courts. At No. 1 singles, Stephens fell to No. 98 Lucia Quiterio in straight sets. With the match tied at two, Eades had the opportunity to push her No. 2 singles match into a decisive third set, but she fell in the second set tiebreaker, allowing the 49ers to take a 3-2 lead in the match.

With the Wildcats needing to win on the final two courts, Gonzalez, a junior from Madrid, Spain, delivered a clutch performance on court 3, recovering from a break down in the opening frame to even the dual with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.

Freshman Julia Zhu sealed the deal for Kentucky with a gritty, three-set victory on court 5. After splitting the opening two frames, Zhu recovered from a break down on two separate occasions in the decider, claiming the final three games over her 49er opponent to clinch the 4-3 win. With the win, Zhu, a freshman from Berlin, Germany, remains undefeated in her collegiate career in both singles and doubles.

The Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, January 27 with a ticket to Seattle on the line. In the regional final, Kentucky will face the winner of No. 1 North Carolina and Oregon at 3:30 p.m. ET. If the host and defending national champion Tar Heels win, the match will be the first this season for Kentucky against a ranked opponent. The regional final will be streamed on ESPN+ as part of Cracked Racquets’ CrossCourt Cast from various sites around the country.


ITA Kickoff Weekend – Chapel Hill Regional

Friday, January 26

[3]Kentucky def. [2] Charlotte, 4-3
3:30 p.m. ET – [4] Oregon vs. [1] No. 1 North Carolina

Saturday, January 27

3:30 p.m. ET – [3] Kentucky vs. Winner of UNC/Oregon—Championship Match
6:00 p.m. ET – [2] Charlotte vs. Loser of UNC/Oregon—Consolation Match

[#] Indicates Regional Seed


Kentucky vs. Charlotte


Quiterio/Teixido Garcia (CLT) def. No. 36 Mills/Stevens (UK) 6-3
Nakano/Suchankova (CLT) def. No. 25 Eades/Gonzalez (UK) 7-6 (12)
Hammond/Zhu (UK) def. Wilkins/Petruzelova (CLT) 7-5


No 98 Quiterio (CLT) def. Elizabeth Stevens (UK) 7-5, 6-4
Petruzelova (CLT) def. Ellie Eades (UK) 6-4, 7-6(3)
Lidia Gonzalez (UK) vs. Teixido Garcia (CLT) 7-5, 6-4
Zoe Hammond (UK) def. Suchankova (CLT) 6-1, 6-3
Julia Zhu (UK) def. Aranda (CLT) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Ellie Myers (UK) def. Wilkins (CLT) 6-1, 6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles— 1,3,2
Singles— 4, 6, 1, 2, 3, 5

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