Women's Tennis
    Women's Tennis Starts First Fall Tournament This Week

    Oct. 2, 2003

    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - The USC women's tennis team starts fall competition this week at the prequalifying rounds of the 2003-04 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championship. This week's matches will be played at the Los Angeles Tennis Club on the UCLA campus.

    The tournament, which culminates with the main draw championship to be played Oct. 9-12 and starts with the prequalifier this week, is the first of three ITA national and singles and doubles championship throughout the year. This premier hard court event of the fall collegiate season features the top players in NCAA Division I tennis.

    The Women of Troy have five players competing in the two-week tournament, including junior Luana Magnani who was selected to compete in the main draw as one of the top 25 women's tennis players in the country. Magnani has played the No. 2 position for USC for the past two seasons and owns a 53-19 (.736) career singles record. She will begin tournament play on Oct. 9.

    Sophomore Carine Vermeulen was selected to start the tournament in the qualifying round. Vermeulen, who compiled a near-perfect record last season for the Trojans at the No. 6 spot, will begin tournament play on Oct. 7 at the Riviera Country Club. She and Magnani will also compete in the doubles qualifier. Eight singles players and four doubles teams will advance to the main draw.

    Senior Melissa Esmero and freshmen Dianne Matias and Erica Sauer will start their tournament play this Saturday, Oct. 4, at the prequalifer. Four singles players and four doubles teams will advance.

    The Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships date back to 1983 when Georgia's Lisa Spain won the inaugural title. Several past champions have gone on to professional careers. In 1999 the University of San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova made history at the Riviera when she won her record fifth national collegiate singles title. Stanford boasts the most singles and doubles champions at this event with a total of eight, and Texas is not far behind with six. Duke's Kelly McCain topped Old Dominion's Nataly Cahana in last year's singles final; Vanderbilt's Sarah Riske and Aleke Tsoubanos won the doubles title.

    The famous Riviera Tennis Club has played host to this event since 1988 (it also hosted an intercollegiate women's championship from 1986-88). The tournament is a popular spot for collegiate players each season thanks to the generous hospitality the Riviera provides each year.

    RadioTennis.com plans to broadcast next month's semifinals and finals.