Cougar Tennis Inks Two

April 15, 2004

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State Tennis Coach Lisa Hart announced, Thursday two players have signed a National Letter of Intent and will join the Cougars next fall as Hart's first recruiting class.

The new Cougars are Ekaterina Burduli of Tel Aviv, Israel and Anastesia Opata of Lawrenceville, Ga.

'What a wonderful day for our program and I couldn't be more pleased with our two signees,' Hart said. 'Ekaterina and Anastesia are outstanding tennis players as well as quality people with impeccable character. They will represent our program and Washington State University with class and integrity.'

Ekaterina Burduli (EE-cat-ER-eenuh BURR-do-LEE) has reached the finals of the Israeli Junior Championships and the semifinals of the Israeli Adult Championships in 2003. Burduli has been ranked as high as 950th by the World Tennis Association (WTA). In doubles Burduli and her partner reached the semifinals of the European Junior Championships in 2003. Early in her career Burduli enjoyed the No. 1 ranking in Israel for five years straight.

'I am really excited about coming to study and play at Washington State University,' Burduli said. 'It is an honor for me to be a part of the women's tennis team and to compete for and represent such a great school.'

Coach Hart on Burduli: 'Ekaterina will bring a wealth of tennis experience to our program. With her commitment, dedication and experience, I believe she can potentially graduate as one of the best players WSU tennis has ever seen.'

The Cougars also signed Anatesia Opata (AN-uh-STAY-shuh O-pod-UH). Opata is currently ranked No. 2 in the state of Georgia, and she also enjoys the No. 9 ranking in the South Region and No. 85 in the nation in the 18 and under age group. During her junior career she was ranked as high as No. 54 in the nation in the 16 and under age group. Opata played in the No. 1 position in the 2003 Davis Cup/Fed Cup for Georgia in the 18 and under age group. Along with her partner, Opata captured the 2003 National Open Doubles Championship in the 18 and under bracket.

'I am so excited to be joining the Cougar family.' Opata said. 'I know my next four years will be great at WSU.'

Coach Hart on Opata: 'Anastesia will lead our team to continued athletic and academic excellence. She has proven herself on the national level and has been ranked as high as No. 54 in the nation in her junior career. Anastesia has unlimited potential and is one of the most athletic junior tennis players in the country.'

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