Waves Hold Their Own Against Tennis Pros

Lexi Ryngler

A Pepperdine Waves women’s tennis player, redshirt freshman Lexi Ryngler, advanced to the semifinals of the 2020 Oracle/ITA Masters in San Diego last weekend.

Ryngler, from Calabasas, won three matches in the Oct. 9-11 tournament before being felled the round before the championship. Ryngler was one of four Waves to participate in the spectacle, which featured 82 women tennis players who are either juniors, professionals or college athletes.

The other Waves that competed in the three-day competition were freshman Nikki Redelijk, a Florida native, and graduate students Jessica Failla, a 2019 All-WCC singles team and doubles team second team member, and Ashley Lahey, the 2020 ITA Senior Player of the Year and three-time ITA All-American singles player. 

Failla and Lahey, also the 2019 Oracle/ITA Masters champion, participated in the San Diego tournament unattached from Pepperdine. 

Ryngler defeated Loyola Marymount’s Becca Weissman, 6-1, 6-2, in the opening round on Oct. 9. Then, in the round of 16, she beat junior player Kaila Barksdale, 6-1, 6-2. Ryngler downed junior player Katie Codd, 6-1, 6-1, in the quarterfinals on Oct. 10. The new Wave was beaten by USC’s Angela Kulikov in three sets later that day. 

Redelijk and Lahey both won their opening round matches. 

Redelijk beat pro Jwany Sherif, 6-2, in the first set, before Sherif had to retire from the match because of an injury. The first-year Pepperdine player was then defeated by pro Sofie Whittle in the second round. Lahey downed Texas’s Vivian Ovrootsky, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0(0), in the first round. She was beaten by junior player Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer in the following round. 

Failla advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals. She beat junior player Maya Pitts, 6-0, 6-4, in the first round and then defeated junior player Rebecca Lynn, 7-5, 2-6, 1-0(5), in the second round. Failla was downed by USC’s Eryn Cayetano in the third round. Cayetano went on to win the event.

The event, held at the Barnes Tennis Center, was organized to give tennis players who had their fall seasons canceled or drastically limited because of the coronavirus pandemic a chance to step back on the tennis court. 

Handshakes or physical contact between the athletes was not allowed because of COVID-19, and the competition’s health and safety guidelines included temperature checks, sanitization routines, and social distancing, plus the players had to wear masks when not on the court.