UNLV's Batta wins opener at NCAA tennis tourney

Junior Lucia Batta became the first UNLV women’s tennis player to win a singles match at the NCAA tournament since 2000 when she defeated Florida’s Alexandra Cercone 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 in the first round Wednesday in Urbana, Ill.

The last Rebel to win at the NCAAs was Katarina Malec, who made it to the semifinals 13 years ago.

Batta, ranked 59th, has won 28 consecutive matches. Cercone, ranked 51st, was the last player to beat Batta, winning 6-2, 6-2 in Las Vegas on Jan. 20. Batta next plays today against California’s Zsofi Susanyi, the nation’s fifth-ranked player.

UNLV junior Aleksandra Josifoska, ranked 38th, lost her first-round match 6-4, 6-4 to 11th-ranked Mary Weatherholt of Nebraska.