Spasojevic highlights the River Oaks Invitational with four singles wins

Sydney Tasman

Texas women’s tennis had four players representing the burnt orange this past weekend at the River Oaks Invitational in Houston. Competing for the Longhorns was senior Katie Poluta, Petra Granic, Fernanda Labraña and freshman Tijana Spasojevic. 

The ladies earned a total of 11 victories at the tournament, which hosted players from Houston, SMU, Rice and North Carolina State.

Day one of the tournament ended with three victories for the Longhorns. Doubles partners Poluta and Labraña rallied to defeat Vivienne Kulicke and Sarai Monarrez Yesaki of SMU, 7-6 (7-3), after dropping their first match to Bianca Moldovan and Liz Norman of North Carolina State, 6-4.

The doubles victories didn’t continue on Friday, though, as Granic and Spasojevic lost to Houston’s Sophie Gerits and Phonexay Chitdara, 6-3. 

The rest of Friday’s victories came from singles play.  Poluta defeated SMU’s Nicole Petchey in two sets, 6-1, 6-0. Spasojevic also beat SMU in a match against Tiffany Hollebeck. The freshman won, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.  

Saturday proved to be more successful for Texas. The day concluded with five wins, three of them coming from Labraña.  

Labraña began the day defeating Hollebeck and Ana Perez-Lopez of SMU in a doubles match with partner Poluta. The duo won 7-5. 

Labraña continued to win back-to-back singles matches, giving credit to her serves for the wins.  She took on Bianca Moldovan and Natalia Nikolopoulou of North Carolina State, and won the matches 6-1, 6-2 and 6-4, 7-5 respectively. 

After the match, Labraña was quick to praise her doubles partner on a successful day.

“Today was a great day for us,” Labraña said. “With Katie we played super good in doubles. We were playing so aggressive, and that was so good.”

Spasojevic also walked off the courts with a pair of singles wins on Saturday. She defeated Michaela Haet of Rice, 6-4, 6-4.  Later, she won her match against Adriana Reami of North Carolina State, 6-4, 7-5.

Spasojevic continued the win streak in her singles matches on the final day of the tournament.  She defeated Linda Huang of Rice in three sets, 6-2, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4. The win allowed the freshman Longhorn to go 4–0 in singles play at the conclusion of the tournament.

“I’m really proud of the way I played,” Spasojevic said. “Coach Joffe and Taylor have been great support to me. We’ve been working on me stepping into the court and being more aggressive and taking the advantage of my serve, so that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s been going pretty well.”

To finish out the tournament, Labraña and Poluta also captured singles wins. Labraña defeated Rice’s Victoria Smirnova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, which led her to finish the tournament with a singles record of 3–1. Poluta beat SMU’s Kulicke, 6-1, 5-7, 7-5, completing the tournament with 2-1 record in singles action. 

The wins allowed the Longhorns to go 3–0 on the last day of the invitational, capping off an overall successful weekend.