(ROME, Ga.) – Carnegie Mellon University women's tennis sophomore Vinaya Rao (Vernon Hills, Ill. / Adlai E. Stevenson) and freshman Melissa Strome (West Bloomfield, Mich. / West Bloomfield) opened play at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Oracle Cup on Thursday, October 12, playing in the national event for the first time in their careers. The pair earned placement at the tournament by winning the ITA Southeast Regional Doubles Championship on September 24.
Rao and Strome began the national quarterfinal with a 4-1 lead against Kate Daugherty and Esther Bowers of Southwestern University. Daugherty and Bowers rallied to win the first set 6-4 before the Tartan pair forced a third-set tiebreaker with a 6-4 win in the second set.
Daugherty and Bowers got out to an 8-1 lead in the tiebreaker before Rao and Strome pulled off four straight points to trail 8-5. Daugherty and Bowers ended the match with a 10-5 final score in the tiebreaker.
Rao and Strome will now face Flyora Shiyanova and Coco Kulle of New York University on Friday, October 13 at 3:30 p.m. with the winner moving on to the fifth-place match.