Labraña wins singles title at Texas Invitational

Nathan Han

Junior Fernanda Labraña didn’t let dropping the second set of the singles final to No. 80 Daevenia Achong of Miami mark the end of her fall season.

“(Associate head coach Taylor (Fogleman) came and said, ‘Bring your energy up and get more aggressive,’” Labraña said. “And I was getting a little bit tired, but I just had to get myself to fight every point.”

And fight she did, as Labraña went on to win the third set in commanding fashion. The junior won the singles title against Achong 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 at the Texas Invitational at the Texas Tennis Center Sunday.

The Texas Invitational, featuring players from six teams including Miami, Rice, SMU, Tennessee and Texas A&M, concluded the fall season for not only Labraña but also freshman Gabby Cusano, redshirt sophomore Marta Perez-Mur and sophomore Tijana Spasojevic.

Perez-Mur and Labraña went 5-1 in their singles matches at the Texas Invitational.

The two also combined to go undefeated in their three doubles matches, one of which was a close 7-6 (5) victory also against Achong and Selma Cadar of Miami Friday.

“I’m just happy to finish the fall with a title,” Labraña said. “I’ve been playing a lot of hard matches this fall, but overall, I think I improved a lot.”

For Perez-Mur, her fall season was a comeback from a devastating knee injury that kept her out and forced her to redshirt her second year.

“It’s been weird to stay healthy all fall,” Perez-Mur said. “So that was really positive for me to be able to play all the tournaments I was scheduled to play.”

After losing her entire season to injury last October, the redshirt sophomore had surgery in November and returned in September at the Furman Fall Classic.

She defeated Jackie Nylander of SMU 6-3, 6-0 Sunday to finish her fall season on a high note as well. 

“I started the season off a little lost on the court, especially after not playing for such a long time,” Perez-Mur said. “But after (the Baylor Invitational), my level of tennis improved a lot. I’m just really happy to be healthy and playing.”

As senior Anna Turati and freshman Lexi Ryngler wrap up their seasons at the Oracle ITA National Championships starting Nov. 6, Labraña, Perez-Mur, Cusano and Spasojevic will take a short break before preparing for their spring season.

“I have to improve the mental part of the game,” Labraña said. “Just staying stable no matter if I’m winning or losing and being more aggressive.”

The Longhorns will play in the Bahamas at the Bahamian Invite Jan. 10 to start their preseason against tennis powerhouses Miami, UCLA and Florida. Then, they’ll kick off their season at home against Iowa Jan. 24.

“It’s really special to play at home,” Perez-Mur said. “Going into the season having played at home in the fall gives us an advantage. It was great getting the crowd going and ready for the season.”