Kylie Collins makes first semifinal appearance in ITF 25K tournament on home turf

Shezan Samanani, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the November 2 flipbook.

A few hours before sophomore Kylie Collins and former Longhorn and Swiss player Lulu Sun played together in the doubles semifinal, they competed against each other in the singles quarterfinal at the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open. 

Collins came out victorious in a two set match 6-4, 6-2, booking herself a ticket into the singles semifinals.

“We are hanging out in the locker room warming up beforehand, and then it’s match time and now she’s your opponent so it was a little weird,” Collins said. “But then once that first point started, it was game time.”

Even though Collins ended up losing in her semifinal match, the local tournament at the Texas Tennis Center was her first singles semifinals appearance in an ITF 25K tournament. 

“It was pretty sweet, especially to do it here in Austin at our home facility. It was definitely special,” Collins said.

When asked about Collins’ performance, head coach Howard Joffe summed it up in just one word: excellent.

“Anytime you’re advancing to the final stages of a tournament it’s a good thing, but in this instance, it’s a professional level tournament and so to go to the semifinals, she performed superbly,” he said.

Collins lost her semifinal match against the United States’ Kayla Day in a hard fought three sets,   6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

The H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open took place from October 25-31. Collins concluded the Longhorns’ play in the tournament on Saturday.

“It’s always, for a variety of reasons, wonderful to play at Texas. In this instance, getting to have our kids play in a professional event and get that exposure but on their home courts is a huge luxury and benefit for sure,” Joffe said.

The Texas women’s tennis team had five players competing in the tournament as wild cards. Collins, sophomore Charlotte Chavatipon and freshman Bella Zamarripa all competed in both the doubles and singles main draws. Sophomore Malaika Rapolu only competed in the singles qualifying draw and senior Fernanda Labraña played in the doubles main draw with Chavatipon.

In the first round of singles play, Collins beat Chieh-Yu Hsu from Taiwan 6-4, 6-3. She then defeated Elysia Bolton from the United States 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round.

Collins and Sun’s doubles run ended in the semifinals after losing a close three set game 6-1, 5-7, 1-0 (10-5) against the United States’ Elysia Bolton and Maegen Manasse. They won their first round match 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-3) against Abbie Myers and Ivana Popovic from Australia and their quarterfinal match 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (11-9) against Rachel Gailis and Sarah Hammer from the United States.

“It was kind of funny because Lulu and I agreed to play doubles back in the summer when I heard she wasn’t going to be part of the team anymore,” Collins said. “I don’t know who initiated it, but we were like, ‘Alright, we’ll just do it for old times sake, one more time on the UT courts.’

It was really fun to be back with her. I’m sure we will be playing in the future too. It is one thing that was initiated here at UT but I’m sure it will continue on and on if she doesn’t get sick of me.”