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Wednesday February 8th

No. 1 Fiona Crawley takes home singles victory at ITA National Fall Championships

UNC senior Fiona Crawley captures the title at the ITA Fall National Championship. Photo Courtesy of ITA.
Buy Photos UNC senior Fiona Crawley captures the title at the ITA Fall National Championship. Photo Courtesy of ITA.

UNC dominated at the ITA National Fall Championships, with No. 1 ranked Fiona Crawley making it into the singles and doubles players finals and taking home the singles victory. 

What happened?

Junior Fiona Crawley beat serious contenders, including 5-8 ranked Mary Stoiana in the quarterfinals and 5-8 ranked Carol Lee in the semifinals. She is undefeated in singles this fall, taking every match of this tournament in straight sets. Princeton’s unranked Daria Frayman fought hard for her spot during the semifinals in a three-and-a-half hour match that ended in a 7-6 (8), 7-6 (7) win. 

Crawley started out nervous, giving up the first game to Daria Frayman. However, she quickly rebounded to win the next game, after which she started to hit her stride. 

She also took the next two games, but Frayman would not give up the games easy. Frayman managed to take another game and seemed to find her stride with a 40-15 lead in the sixth game. However, Crawley came back with aggression, leading to a deuce point that she won decisively. Though Crawley continued to be one game from the set, Frayman struck back, winning the next game to make the score 5-3. The two battled it out to reach another deuce for the match point, which Crawley won again, taking the set 6-3. 

Frayman won the first two games of the next match, but Crawley remained in the match, taking the next game. She won the next game as well to tie the set. The tiebreaker game and the one after went to Frayman to re-establish the lead. Crawley had the following game almost secured at 40-0, but Frayman came back to take it and a 5-2 set point lead. Both players took games in twos, and Crawley almost evened the score at 5-4, but Frayman took the next game and subsequently the set. 

The third set was new territory for Crawley in the tournament. Frayman took advantage of this, winning the first game. She claimed the first game in every set this match. After tying the set 2-2, Fiona took her first lead, adding two more games to make the set 4-2. Though Frayman gained one more game, Crawley scored a 5-3 match point lead. Frayman hit the ball long in the last game and Crawley won the set 6-3 and the match. 

Who stood out? 

Crawley has been the standout UNC athlete throughout this tournament, being the only athlete to make it to finals for both singles and doubles. This is a hometown match for the native Californian, who said she was happy to be playing there. Frayman also proved to be a fierce competitor, being the only player to win a set against Crawley. Frayman drew out the game in a way that caused her to make mistakes, and Crawley had more double-faults than usual in this game.

When was it decided?

Given that the second match was so close, it was impossible to tell if the game would extend into a third. Once it did, it was unclear who would take such an evenly-matched game. Once Crawley made it to a 5-3 lead, she was in the perfect place to win, and succeeded. 

Why does it matter?

This championship win puts Crawley in a top spot going into the spring. Crawley broke her streak and lost a set, but she still accomplished a major victory beyond the tournament. This win makes her the first player since Francesa Di Lorenzo to win both the singles All-American Championship and ITA National Fall Championship. She is also the first Tar Heel to win both since Jamie Loeb in 2013. UNC has now won three out of four singles titles in this tournament over the last four years. 

When do they play next?

This tournament is the last of the semester for the Tar Heel women’s team, who will continue for the indoor tennis season in the new year. 


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