Richardson and Achong fall in opening round of the NCAA Singles Championship

Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson rallies a ball during her doubles matchup against Syracuse on Friday April 15, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson and fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong, Miami’s two representatives for the NCAA Singles Championship at the Khan Outdoor Sports Complex in Urbana, Ill., lost their respective matches Monday evening in straight sets. For the second time since 2014, a Cane won’t make the Final Four.

“Listen, these are the best players in the country. We didn’t play our best tennis today, but I think that had a lot to do with the players that we played, our opponents,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We’ve got to do better against high-level competition. We’ve got to push a little harder. We’ve got to believe a little more.”

In Miami’s first match of the day, No. 37 Richardson fell to No. 36 Michaela Bayerlova of Washington State.

The contest was initially close, as both players remained deadlocked at 2-2 after trading a pair of games in the first set. However, Bayerlova dominated after breaking Richardson’s serve at deuce to go up 3-2. She didn’t drop a game the rest of the way, cruising to the Round of 32 with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

With the loss, Richardson’s collegiate singles career is over. In her lone season with the Hurricanes, she downed five ranked foes, including Virginia’s Emma Navarro, the 2021 NCAA Singles Championship victor and the number one seed in this year’s tournament. Before facing Richardson, Navarro had only lost once in her collegiate career, at the hands of another Hurricane – former NCAA Champion Estela Perez-Somarriba.

Around an hour later, No. 33 Achong faced No. 10 Layne Sleeth, the highest-ranked player on Oklahoma – this year’s NCAA Team Championship runner-up. Both competitors held serve through the first two games, until Sleeth broke Achong in the next one to go up 2-1 in the first set. That started an eight-game winning streak, which Achong ended in the second set after winning two straight games without dropping a point. Having closed the gap to 3-2, her comeback would end there. Sleeth convincingly took the next three games for a 6-1, 6-2 triumph.

Despite the loss, Achong had a breakout season, finishing with a spectacular 28-13 record in singles, where she primarily played the No. 2 spot.

“I’m extremely proud of the singles seasons that Daev and Eden put together,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “[They had] two tough first-round opponents today and they came up short, but that is not taking anything away from their seasons. They had incredible singles seasons.”

Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. ET, Achong and Richardson, ranked No. 13 nationally, will square off against Furman’s No. 34-ranked duo of Julia Adams and Ellie Schoppe in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship.

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