Junior named to preseason top-50 tennis rankings

Cindy Chala enters the 2013-14 season as one of the nation’s top singles players. Photo courtesy of VCU Athletics.

Sterling Giles
Contributing Writer

One VCU tennis player will begin spring play as one of the top ranked players in the nation.

Cindy Chala of the VCU women’s tennis team was ranked 50th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason rankings released on Sept. 6.

​In her debut season with the women’s tennis team, the skill and talent of the French native earned her the top position in the line up for virtually the entire season. She registered a 15-5 record, with her losses only coming at the hands of players who ranked in top-30 nationally. Despite her losses, Chala was ranked in the top-80 among nationally ranked players, according to the VCU Athletics website.

​Chala’s efforts helped lead the women’s tennis team to a 22-5 overall record and an Atlantic 10 Championship in its first season of league play. Chala was also named the A-10’s most Outstanding Player in spring of 2013.

​Her momentous run continued as she earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Singles Championship in late May. The berth was the first for a VCU women’s tennis player in more than seven years. Tatsiana Uvarova was the last Ram to play in the tournament.

Chala won her first match in the round of 64 against freshman Anne-Liz Jeukeng of Clemson University 6-0, 5-7, 7-6. ​The following day, Chala’s luck ran out. She faced Stanford’s Krista Hardebeck, the no. 14 player in the country at the time, and lost in three sets: 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.

​Despite the loss, Chala had a remarkable debut season. Not only did she have to adjust to the social parameters of her new home in the U.S, but she was also expected to perform exceptionally on the court.

“It was a different creature, the mentality was different from back home,” she said.

The French native said she was thankful that nagging injuries from the past did not jeopardize her spring 2013 season. Chala was plagued with severe back pains and other health problems. She attributes her health and success to both the VCU training staff, as well as Rams’ assistant tennis Coach Yana Carollo.

The women’s tennis team began fall play this past weekend with the William & Mary Invitational in Williamsburg, Va.

They team will travel to Blacksburg, Va. to play in the Virginia Tech Fall Invite this weekend.

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