Column: Top returners for Eastern’s tennis teams

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The men’s and women’s tennis teams at Eastern had their fall schedules postponed by COVID-19 after the remainder of their spring seasons were canceled back in March.

At the time of the cancelation, the men’s team was 7-8 and on a seven-match losing stream and the women’s team was 5-8 and on a six-match losing streak. Each team was scheduled to begin their conference seasons when the season was canceled. 

When they do take the court once again in the spring, both teams have a number of returning players that can make an impact based on their performances last season.

 

Women’s Tennis- Rachel Papavasilopoulos

Not only was Rachel Papavasilopoulos the top tennis player on campus last semester, she was perhaps the most successful athlete at Eastern.

Following her sophomore season in 2018-19, for which she was named the OVC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year, she performed well in her limited action as a junior.

Papavasilopoulos went 9-0 during the spring before the season was canceled, playing all nine matches at No. 1 singles.

She also played 10 doubles matched on the season, going 5-4 with one match unfinished. She also moved into third place all time on Eastern’s win list for No. 1 singles with 32 wins. She ranks second in program with an 80.5 win percentage and was named OVC Player of the Week on Feb. 6.

 

Women’s Tennis- Elizaveta Bukraba-Ulanova

Finishing second on the teams in singles wins last season was freshman Elizaveta Bukraba-Ulanova. She played 10 singles matches on the year, splitting time between the No. 2, 3 and 4 singles slots, going 2-0 in the No. 2 slot.

She also played in 10 doubles matches, nine of which were in the No. 1 slot, going 4-5 with one match going unfinished.

Bukraba-Ulanova earned her first collegiate win in straight sets on the road against LSU Alexandria on Jan. 17.

 

Men’s Tennis- Pau Riera

Tied for second in singles wins for the men’s tennis team in the spring was freshman Pau Riera.

He was the only player on the team to appear in all six spots and went 4-7 in singles play. He won two matches at No. 4 and one match at both No. 1 and No. 2. Riera’s two wins at No. 4 came in his first two collegiate matches.

 

Men’s Tennis- Daniel Hernandez

The men’s tennis team’s leader in singles wins last season was junior Daniel Hernandez. He played in 12 dual matches, going 5-7 while splitting time in the top-three spots.

He finished the season in third place on Eastern’s all-time singles win list and second on the all-time doubles win list.

Hernandez also won his first three singles matches of the year playing in the No. 2 and 3 spots and earned OVC Player of the Week honors on Feb. 6.

Hernandez played in 12 doubles matches, going 2-9 with one match going unfinished.

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]