Valentina Ivanov Wins Doubles Title In Tunisia
BERKELEY – Valentina Ivanov, a rising senior on the California women's tennis team, captured a doubles title in a 15K Monastir tournament on July 9 in Tunisia. Ivanov, a New Zealander who lives in Australia, partnered with Lisa Mays, an Aussie who previously played at Texas Tech, to defeat the top-seeded Cho I-Hsuan and Xinxin Yao, 6-4, 6-7(2), 10-8, in the final.
"It was our first time playing together, which made it even more special, especially because we had to get through some close matches in the semis and final," Ivanov said. "It was a great feeling when we won it."
The duo beat three seeded opponents in the tournament. In the semifinals, the two bested second-seeded Yuka Hosoki and N.C. State's Priksa Nugroho, 7-6(5), 1-6, 10-4, and in the first round Ivanov and Mays beat the fourth-seeded pair of Jennifer Luikham and Nikol Palacek, 6-4, 6-1. They knocked off Lara Pfeifer and Elina Zakharova, 6-0, 6-3, in the quarterfinals.
This week, Ivanov and Mays played in another 15K tournament in Monastir, with the tandem reaching the semifinals before bowing out, and Ivanov also advanced to the singles quarterfinals.
"I've put a lot of work into myself and my game ever since leaving California," Ivanov said. "Even though these have been my first two tournaments back, I feel I'm performing better both mentally and physically on the court compared to when I left the States."
Ivanov plans on playing two tournaments in Denmark and perhaps compete in another event before ending her summer season.
"I'm really looking forward to Denmark because I'll get to catch up with Hannah (Viller Moeller) and a couple of the boys on the men's team, she said. "Also, Jessica Alsola is coming, so we'll have a little Cal reunion in Europe."
In her junior season, Ivanov – who this week was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete and was selected to the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll for 2021-22 – posted records of 14-13 in singles and 19-10 in doubles and was part of a Cal squad that won the Pac-12 regular-season championship and reached the NCAA round of 16.
She's looking forward to the upcoming college season.
"I have set new goals for myself and will make necessary adjustments to come back stronger my senior year," Ivanov said. Overall, "our team will remain strong. Our lineup is very deep, and we are capable of achieving great things!"