RANCHO SANTA FE, October 10, 2023 (by Steve Pratt)
Players with college tennis ties ruled the day on Tuesday at the TaliMar Rancho Santa Fe Open, a USTA Women’s Pro Circuit $60,000 event taking place at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, as all eight players winning final-round qualifying matches and a few others in the main draw are current or former college players and walked off the courts victorious.
Hometown favorite from Oceanside Megan McCray, who played at Oklahoma State, beat American Tori Kinard, 6-3, 6-2, for a coveted spot in the main draw in the third annual tournament presented by The Gillian Gillies and Prentiss Van Den Berg Team with Compass.
Other collegians moving into the main draw included: current USC Trojans junior Snow Han and fifth-year senior Eryn Cayetano, UCLA junior Kimmi Hance, former St. Mary’s player Maria Kozyreva, University of Texas sophomore Nicole Rivkin, former LSU All-American and 2021 graduate Paris Corley and former four-year Washington State player and 2022 graduate Savanna Ly-Nguyen.
In addition, two former NCAA champions Makenna Jones (doubles, 2021) and Fangran Tian (singles, 2023) battled in a match with the winner moving on to the second round of the main draw as Jones defeated Tian, 7-5, 6-4, in a tight match that lasted 2 hours and 13 minutes.
In yet another matchup between two former collegians, former University of Washington Husky Stacy Fung downed former USC Trojan Madison Sieg, 6-3, 6-4, while former University of North Carolina player Jessie Aney moved into the second round downing Tustin’s Jenna Falco, 7-5, 6-3.
Seven of the eight final-round qualifying matches ended in straight sets, including Cayetano’s as she eliminated Torrey Pines High junior Alyssa Ahn, 6-4, 6-1. Ahn was given a “lucky loser” spot and will play Hanna Chang of Fontana in the main draw on Wednesday.