Thasaporn Naklo ITA regional 2021 (2)

Thasaporn Naklo celebrates a point in the ITA central regional championships on Monday. (Photo credit: Stephen Mally/hawkeyesports.com)

After a hard-fought weekend at the ITA Fall National Championships, the Iowa State tennis team came home with a few wins to hang its hat on.

As the fall season comes to an end, it gives the team time to reflect and figure out what to work on for the spring.

History made for Cyclone tennis

The four Cyclones that traveled to San Diego, California, for the tournament were the first to qualify in Iowa State history. Although they did not advance to the final day of the competition, coming away with wins is still something Cyclone tennis has yet to see in their history.

The ITA Fall Nationals featured elite athletes from all over the nation, yet every Iowa State player was capable of coming away with at least one win. Sophomore Thasaporn Naklo went 2-2 in the singles tournament.

The duo of Naklo and Christin Hsieh finished the tournament 1-2. They were able to fight through a tough day one loss to cruise through day two.

Miska Kadleckova and Sofia Cabezas were able to pick up a win on day one to advance to the round of 16. The competition was fierce and the duo was eliminated from the tournament on the second day with a 1-1 record.

Well-fought matches

Although the Cyclones racked up five losses over the weekend, many sets and matches were close, with three of the losses being decided in the final set.

Naklo started the tournament being defeated by Tennessee’s Rebeka Mertena 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2) in a tiebreak final set. Naklo finished the weekend off with a 6-0, 4-6, 5-7 loss to Pepperdine’s Lisa Zaar. 

Three of the four matches that Naklo played were decided in the third set, or went to a tiebreaking set. Although she lost two of those matches, she did not go down without a fight.

The Iowa State duo of Kadleckova and Cabezas also played in close matches in the doubles bracket. The round of 32 and 16 came down to a final tiebreak set, where the duo came out with a 10-4 win on the first day and a 6-10 loss on the second. 

Looking towards the future

While the Cyclones did not compete on the final day of competition, the experience they gained will help them long past this weekend's end.

The level of competition at the ITA Fall Nationals was very high, and the field was stacked with the best players from across the country. Getting quality matches in against high-ranked players will help the team determine what works best for them and what they need to focus on.

All four players played exceptionally well throughout the weekend but needed to be more consistent with their play. Some sets were in the Cyclones’ favor a lot more than others, and if they can figure out how to play close every game, they will be able to contend at the highest level. 

Naklo’s 2-2 record in the singles tournament brings her overall record in the fall season to 12-3. As a duo, Naklo and Hsieh finished the season with a 9-4 record, and Kadleckova and Cabezas finished with a 9-3 record. 

Now that the fall season is over, the team can practice and prepare for the spring. New challenges will present themselves, and the players will be more experienced in winning in the future.

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