Yamalapalli qualifies for Oracle ITA Masters in Malibu

Tracy Weddle/For Sam Houston State AthleticsSam Houston State sophomore Sahaja Yamalapalli returns the ball during a Southland Conference Tournament match earlier this year.

Sam Houston State sophomore Sahaja Yamalapalli has qualified to compete among the top college tennis players in the country later this year at the 2019 Oracle ITA Masters.

The event — which features the returning player of the year or other qualifiers from each Division I athletic conference, with one additional wild-card spot — will take place September 26-29 in Malibu, California. Matches will be held at Pepperdine University and the Malibu Racquet Club.

Yamalapalli, who is from Hyderabad, India, was the 2019 Southland Conference Player and Student-Athlete of the Year. The first-team all-conference honoree went 10-1 in league No. 1 singles play, a run that included a nine-match winning streak. She recorded a 16-4 overall record for the season.

“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.”

Yamalapalli’s 16-4 dual match singles record last season marks the third-highest win total and second-best dual match winning percentage (.895) in school history.

“This is a wonderful feather in the cap for both Sahaja and Sam Houston State,” Bearkats head tennis 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.”

The Oracle ITA Masters will consist of a single-elimination, 32-player women’s and men’s singles draw with first-round loser consolations. There will also be a single-elimination, 32-team mixed doubles draw with 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 and at-large players paired together, or with conference players who do not have a counterpart. 

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