KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Freshman Nithya Kanagasegar (Crossville, Tenn./Cumberland County) advanced all the way to the semifinal round of the main singles draw to lead the Case Western Reserve University women at the 2014 USTA/ITA Central Region Championship.
Ten Spartans competed in the three-day event (September 19-21) at Stow Stadium. Kanagasegar's run to the semifinals was the third for a Spartan woman in the last four seasons. Current junior Sara Zargham (Torrance, Calif./California Academy of Math and Science) reached the semis in 2012, while 2013 graduate Erika Lim advanced to the title match in 2011.
Kanagasegar and Zargham also played on one of the two CWRU doubles tandems to reach the quarterfinals this weekend.
In her first taste of top-flight regional competition, Kanagasegar was 5-1 in the 128-player singles bracket. In the quarterfinals, she outlasted senior Megan Tang of rival University of Chicago by scores of 6-4, 7-5. Then in the round of four against sophomore Rebecca Ho of Washington University in St. Louis, Kanagasegar claimed the opening set in a tie-breaker, 7-5. However, Ho was able to rebound to win the next two by scores of 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the title match.
With two weekends of fall action in the books, Kanagasegar is now 8-1 in singles action.
Also in singles play, Zargham finished at 3-1 with her lone loss coming to Ho in the round of 16. Zargham defeated junior Meg Chiumento of Denison University via scores of 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 in the round of 32.
In doubles action, Kanagasegar and Zargham won their first three matches to reach the final eight. Squaring off with Grace Deering and Hanna Newstad of Washington U., the Spartan duo was victorious, 8-5, in the round of 16. Nancy Benda and Carli Capestany defeated Kanagasegar and Zargham in a thriller in the quarters, 9-8 (2).
On the other side of the doubles bracket, senior Marianne Bonanno (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) and junior Surya Khadilkar (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Hawken School) knocked off their first three opponents by respective scores of 8-0, 8-0 and 8-2. In the quarters, the duo ran into Tang and Ariana Iranpour of Chicago, who advanced to the semis with a 9-7 victory.
The Spartans now have a week off from competition before resuming the fall season on Saturday and Sunday, October 4-5, at the Middlebury Invite in Vermont.