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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Petra Sedlackova and Margaux Maquet lead Alabama women’s tennis to strong finish in fall competition

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama tennis player Petra Sedlackova gets ready to serve the ball.

The Alabama women’s tennis team wrapped up an impressive fall season, displaying its talent at both the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Fall Championships and the Auburn Invite. 

The Crimson Tide completed its fall schedule with remarkable success on the court with standout performances by junior Petra Sedlackova and graduate student Margaux Maquet on opposite sides of the country. The Crimson Tide sent four student-athletes to compete in the Auburn Invite, a three-day tournament in Auburn, Alabama. At the same time, assistant coach Alba Cortina Pou and Sedlackova traveled to San Diego, California, to compete at the ITA National Fall Championships. 

“Traveling with Petra, we are excited, it’s another great opportunity and will be playing against the best of the best,” Cortina Pou said. “I came back here because Alabama gave me so much, so I just wanted to give back as much as possible and to see we are going in the right direction to keep building the program is a full-circle moment for me.” 

Sedlackova won the ITA Southern Regional women’s singles championship Oct. 10, which secured her a spot in the ITA National Fall Championships. Throughout the fall season Sedlackova has consistently delivered stellar performances, the biggest accomplishment being her singles ITA Southern Regional Championship win to bring the Crimson Tide its third ITA event championship in program history. The last time Alabama brought home an ITA event title was in 2012 by Alexa Guarachi.  

“I was very happy with the progress I have made; this was the cherry on top for me,” Sedlackova said.  

Sedlackova’s success might seem new, but she has been consistently improving every year and building from previous success. Going back to her freshman year, she thrived both on and off the court after starting the year winning 12 of her first 14 dual matches as the Crimson Tide’s No. 3 singles player. She made it to the semifinals at the ITA Southern Regional Championships, finishing her first season with second-team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman Team, SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll, and ITA Scholar-Athlete honors. She also qualified for the NCAA singles championship.  

Sedlackova’s sophomore year started off hot just like the year before. She won eight out of nine singles matches to start the season and recorded wins against No. 6 Georgia, No. 29 South Carolina, No. 37 LSU and No. 51 Kentucky. She finished that season with 14 singles wins and was awarded the CSC Academic All-District team.  

Going into the 2023 season, Sedlackova had reached the semifinals each year at the ITA Southern Regional Championships, and when she won her semifinals match this year, it marked the farthest she had gone in the ITA Regional. In the championship match, Sedlackova dominated Set 1, winning all six games against Kinaa Graham from LSU, which included an 11-point run. In Set 2, Sedlackova battled but fell short 2-6 before turning around in the final set and winning 6-1 to secure the victory. 

“This win has meant a lot to me,” Sedlackova said. “It was a good result for me personally, but also it’s a good mark for the team and program. Hope it’s a starting point for what is ahead of me in the future. It proved to me that if I work hard and stay consistent it pays off.”  

The ITA National Fall Championships will include both doubles and singles, but Sedlackova will be competing only in singles, which will have 32 women competing to win the championship.  

“I don’t know what to expect but I will take it as any other tournament I have played so far and will prepare the best I can and give it my best,” Sedlackova said. 

“At the end of the day it is an important tournament, but we just are treating it like any tournament as an opportunity to get better,” Cortina Pou said. “The girls and staff have done a great job motivating each other and making sure we are going in the right direction.” 

In San Diego, Sedlackova fell to University of California Berkley’s Jessica Alsola (6-7(2), 4-6) in the quarterfinals of the singles consolation match. 

Moving on to the Auburn Invite, the Alabama women’s tennis team displayed its talent in singles play last week, concluding its fall campaign on a high note with Maquet going undefeated. The four student-athletes who represented Alabama were junior Loudmilla Bencheikh, freshman Priya Nelson, sophomore Klara Milicevic and Maquet.  

The Crimson Tide got off to a strong start when Bencheikh defeated the No. 57 nationally ranked Maria Sholokhova of Wisconsin (6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4). Maquet also started the weekend off right and won in two sets against Emma Kette of Ole Miss (6-3, 6-0). The Crimson Tide ended the first day going 2-2 in singles play. 

Day 2 of the tournament did not go as planned for the Crimson Tide as the team went 1-3 on the day with the only win coming from Maquet, who won in two sets against Auburn’s Selin Ovunc. Bencheikh, Milicevic and Nelson all lost in 2 sets.  

The final day of the tournament looked similar to Saturday as Maquet continued to dominate to move to 3-0 on the weekend after beating Qavia Lopez of Florida in three sets 6-1, 2-6, 10-4. Benchikh lost to end the weekend 1-2 and both Nelson and Milicevic lost to end the weekend 0-3.  

The Crimson Tide finished 4-8 as a team. The Auburn Invite was the last time the Crimson Tide will compete this fall season. The team will now begin to prepare for its spring season. 

“We are going to make sure we are fit and mentally ready for the spring because it’s going to be a tough schedule,” Cortina Pou said. 

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