HUNTSVILLE - Sam Houston State sophomore Sahaja Yamalapalli has qualified to compete in the 2019 Oracle ITA Masters along with other top NCAA women’s and men’s tennis players from around the country Sept. 26-29 in Malibu, California.
This national collegiate championship event will be held at Pepperdine University and the Malibu Racquet Club. It will feature the returning player of the year or other qualifiers from each Division I athletic conference, with one additional wild card spot.
Yamalapalli, who is from Hyderabad, India, was the 2019 Southland Conference Player and Student-Athlete of the Year. The first-team All-SLC honoree went 10-1 in league No. 1 singles play, including a nine-match winning streak, and 16-4 overall.
“I am so excited to have been selected to compete in such a prestigious national collegiate tournament,” Yamalapalli said. “It is an honor to be able to represent Sam Houston State on a national stage. Thank you to my teammates, coaches and the rest of our Bearkat village for helping me achieve this honor. Eat ‘em Up Kats!”
Yamalapalli’s 16-4 dual match singles record this past season stands as the third highest wins total and second-best dual match winning percentage (.895) in Sam Houston State history, matching her mark from the previous year.
The Oracle ITA Masters will consist of a single-elimination, 32-player women’s and men’s singles draw, with first-round loser consolations, along with a single elimination 32-team mixed doubles draw (no consolation). Each mixed doubles team will be comprised of the men’s player and the women’s player from each conference, with wild card/at-large players paired together or with conference players who do not have a counterpart.
“This is a wonderful feather in the cap for both Sahaja and Sam Houston State,” head coach Robert Hubbard said. “Sahaja has worked so hard to accomplish the milestones she’s achieved this year and selection to the Oracle ITA Masters is the culmination of all her great efforts. Thank you to our team members and Bearkat staff for helping make this possible for such a fantastic student-athlete.”