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Moreno de Alboran, Melounova Begin Play In NCAA Singles Championships



2018 Men's Tennis Singles Bracket  |   2018 Women's Tennis Singles Bracket

UC Santa Barbara junior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Hawai‘i sophomore Petra Melounova commence action in the NCAA Division I Tennis Singles Championships today at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Moreno de Alboran takes on North Carolina State's Alexis Galarneau in first round action at 11:30 a.m. (PT).  Melounova is paired against Texas Tech's Gabriela Talaba at 11:00 a.m. (PT).

Moreno de Alboran is the first Gaucho men’s player to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships since Philip Therp in 2007.  Named Big West Player of the Year earlier this week, Moreno de Alboran posted a 15-5 record in dual matches, including a 13-5 mark at No. 1 singles.

He won his final eight matches – and 11 of the last 12 – culminating in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Cal Poly’s Josh Ortlip in the finals of the Big West Tournament Sunday.  The Gauchos went on to win their fourth straight conference tournament title.  The New York, N.Y. native has been ranked by the ITA all season long, including a season-best No. 71.

Melounova will be making her second straight appearance for Hawai‘i in the women’s singles championship.  It is the fourth time in the last five years that a Rainbow Wahine player has claimed a spot in the NCAA 64-player bracket.  Cindy Nguyen qualified in 2014 and 2015.

In the 2017 tourney, Melounova became the first UH player to win a match, upsetting 16th-ranked Rachel Pierson of Texas A&M in the first round before falling to LSU’s Joana Valle Costa in the second round.  She was the first player from the Big West to win an NCAA singles match since 1998.

Melounova, the Big West Player of the Year for the second straight season, earned the bid to this year’s tournament with a No. 80 ranking in the ITA poll.  She has been ranked as high as No. 65 this year.  Her most impressive win came on March 25 when she defeated the nation’s 10th-ranked singles player, Stanford’s Michaela Gordon, 6-2, 6-3.  She owns a 14-3 dual record exclusively at No. 1 singles.