Alabama women’s tennis opens season at the Ole Miss Fall Invite

Abby McCreary, Assistant Copy Editor

Last weekend, the Alabama women’s tennis team traveled to Oxford, Mississippi, to open its season at the Ole Miss Fall Invite alongside players from Kansas State and Georgia.

The season opened on Friday with doubles play against Georgia. While the Crimson Tide fell in all three matches, they recovered in afternoon singles play, winning three of the six matches against Kansas State. 

Wins were marked by second-year players Loudmilla Bencheikh and Anne Marie Hiser as well as freshman Petra Sedlackova. Bencheikh recorded an easy two-set win (6-1, 6-3), while Hiser and Sedlackova fought hard to win their three-set matches (6-1, 4-6, 7-5 and 6-7(4), 6-0, 6-2 respectively).

On Saturday, Bencheikh and Hiser joined forces against Ole Miss to take the first doubles win (6-0) of the season for Alabama and their first doubles win as a duo. Sedlackova partnered with sophomore Anna Parkhomenko to record their first win (6-3) of the season, and as a doubles team, against Ole Miss. 

To close out the weekend, the Crimson Tide pulled off five wins on Sunday, the final day of the invite. Bencheikh and Hiser recorded both individual wins and a doubles win (6-4) for the Crimson Tide, and Sedlackova and Parkhomenko took the other two wins during singles play against Ole Miss. 

Bencheikh and Hiser both won their singles matches in two sets (6-4, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-4, respectively), while Sedlackova and Parkhomenko defeated their opponents in exciting three-set matches (7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3 and 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 respectively). Bencheikh’s victory over No. 27 Sabina Machalova of Ole Miss marked her second win over a ranked opponent during the tournament. 

“We played a lot of quality matches and assessed things we need to focus on moving forward,” head coach Jenny Mainz said. “This was an invaluable learning weekend for our freshmen.”

Of the eight-person roster posted for the season, only four are returning players. However, former player Moka Ito is returning as a student assistant coach. As the longest-tenured coach at the University, Mainz brings experience to the 2021-2022 season. 

Alabama will host the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southern Regionals Oct. 14-19.