In the opening rounds of the ITA Cup, a total of 48 matches were contested among 73 student-athletes. This year’s event is unique in the format as NAIA is the only competitor field.

Formerly known as the Small College Nationals, the ITA Cup has a history dating back to 1986, and it is the only singles and doubles national championship event for the Division II and NAIA levels.

After an hour rain delay to start the morning, competition got underway for the National Championship. From smooth sailing, to upset city, the quarterfinalists are confirmed. Here’s a look at the top stories from the men’s and women’s singles and doubles main draw. 

Chris Papa takes down No. 1 seed Frederico Bonacia, 7-6(2) 2-6 6-2 in the opening match of the day. The San Diego Christian Hawk faced a dangerous opponent in the Grizzly from Georgia Gwinnett. The first set was tight and resulted in a tiebreak win for Chris Papa. The No. 1 seed in Frederico Bonacia didn’t let that get the best of him as he kicked into overdrive to take the second set. Chris answered with a ruthless third set, winning the contest. 

Maria Genovese is the woman of the day. The 2019 Champion and No. 1 seed strutted her way into the semifinals of the ITA Cup with both of her contests won in straight sets. Maria downed Kyra Akinnibi (XULA), 7-5, 6-2; and Angela Rinaldi (San Diego Christian), 6-0, 6-1. Maria has been on her finest form lately after having a stellar performance in regionals. In doubles, Maria and partner Eva Siska developed a chemistry on court to defeat the duo from Keiser, 6-2, 6-3.

Redemption road is being paved for the doubles pair from Georgia Gwinnett. Federico Bonacia and Valentino Caratini are ready to pave their path to the finals after losing in the finals match during the 2019 ITA Cup. The two Grizzlies pushed through two clean sets to defeat Shaikh Abdullah and Santiago Perez of XULA, 6-2, 6-3.

Still wearing the crown, Lailaa Bashir and Angela Charles-Alfred are fighting to keep it. In the first doubles match of the day, Lailaa and Angela made sure to make quick, smooth work of Polina Khoroshevskaya and Erica Paradise of McPherson. The pair from XULA will hope to remain unblemished as they head to the quarterfinals.

The picture of the day: Martin Mendoza keeps things lively. Like many other student-athletes, Martin Mendoza of Reinhardt kept us laughing during a “stellar” return. From the look on his face, you can tell how great it was…

The Rome Tennis Center has live streaming of matches available for select courts courtesy of PlaySight. The feature courts will be 11 – 16 with court assignments being announced daily on the draw.

For more results from day 1 of the ITA Cup, click here

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