Georgia’s Eleni Christofi fought through a tough three-setter to edge Florida’s Josie Kuhlman and claim the singles draw title Monday in the 2016 ITA Southeast Regional Championship presented by Oracle at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.
The Georgia freshman was down 4-0 in the first set before roaring back to force a tiebreaker and win 7-6 (5) on an overhead shot followed by a forehand volley. Florida junior Kuhlman, ranked 89th in ITA rankings, grabbed the second set 6-2 to force the deciding last set. The third set was a back-and-forth battle that included another match tiebreaker with the Bulldogs’ frosh coming out on top again 7-6 (4).
“Great tournament, great week for Eleni,” said Georgia Head Coach Jeff Wallace. “She has really competed well and made great improvements in her game. It is a great win because it gives her another really big opportunity to get to New York. So really excited for her and what she’s done. We are just going to continue to see more development and improvement in her game. What a great week.”
This is the second straight year that a Georgia Bulldog has been crowned the ITA Southeast Regional Main Draw Champion as Caroline Brinson took the honor last year as a junior. Through the first month of fall play, Christofi, of Athens, Greece, owns a 10-1 singles record and with this latest win, an automatic bid into the 2016 ITA National Indoor Championships on Nov. 10-13 in New York City.
The Bulldogs added more hardware as No. 21-ranked Brinson dispatched Georgia State junior Kristin Rehse 6-1,6-4 to claim the consolation singles championship. The Georgia senior is now 9-3 on the year.
“It’s pretty impressive to have a player that won the main draw and the back draw in this tournament,” said Wallace. “I don’t know if we have ever in our region had a player that on back-to-back years won the main draw and then the back draw, which is tough. So I was excited for her that she was able to do that and that she was playing some of her best tennis today. It was a great job for her to bounce back and get this.”