Maria Sanchez moves into second round at indoor championship
USC junior Maria Sanchez powered her way through the first round on Thursday of this year’s ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships hosted by Yale University.Sanchez ousted Laura Vallverdu from the University of Miami 6-2, 6-3 Thursday morning.Sanchez, ranked No. 17 in the ITA preseason singles rankings, claimed the singles crown at the ITA West Regionals in San Diego last week for the second year in a row. This secured her a place in this weekend’s national tournament with competition against the top 36 singles players in the nation.“I just want to keep working on my individual goals and have fun. Hopefully the results will come,” Sanchez said.Sanchez’s win in the opening round propelled her into Friday’s round of 16. She will play against Anastasia Petukhoua of Fresno State Friday at 7:30 a.m. In a close match on Thursday, Petukhoua knocked off the tournament’s No. 1 seed 6-4, 7-5.Sanchez played in this same tournament last year, but lost in the quarterfinal round.If Sanchez beats Petukhoua today, she will compete in the quarterfinals later today at 2:30 p.m. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, followed by the finals on Sunday.This weekend’s indoor tournament, one of three national championship events on the college tennis calendar, features a 32-player singles draw.With Sanchez in New Haven, Conn., six other players will compete in singles and doubles play at the Duals in the Desert tournament in Palm Springs, Calif. this weekend. (Freshman Danielle Lao is out due to injury and sophomore Elizabeth Marsico and junior Jennifer Goldman will not be attending.)Representing the doubles teams will be junior Lyndsay Kinstler and freshman Valeria Pulido, sophomore Alison Ramos and senior Sarah Fansler, and juniors Cristala Andrews and Leyla Entekhabi.The Duals in the Desert features competition from UCLA, USC, Northwestern and Georgia Tech.