July 2, 2013
HOUSTON - University of Houston women's tennis signee Despoina Vogasari claimed her second professional title of the summer while junior Elena Kordolaimi earned her first-career WTA ranking following a successful week as both competed as amateurs at the Jolie Ville Golf F24 Women's Open in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Vogasari, who signed with the Cougars in November to propel Houston's class to No. 6 nationally according to TennisRecruiting.net, reeled off five-consecutive wins and four in straight-sets fashion to claim her second-career professional singles title and her third overall championship this year.
"Depi (Vogasari) continues to blaze through these events and I'm excited that she will be coming to us on a high, playing the best tennis of her young career," head coach Patrick Sullivan said. "Even though she stopped competing in junior events a couple of years ago, she is clearly one of the top 18-and-under tennis players in the world and has set a goal for herself to have a high enough professional ranking to be considered for a wild card to the US Open junior event in late August.
"The USTA has made a big effort to incorporate college tennis into their player development model, and although obviously their primary commitment is to American athletes, we hope that as a soon-to-be college player, they will look upon her favorably and afford her that well-deserved opportunity."
Kordolaimi, who earned Conference USA Second-Team honors in her first season at Houston in 2013, also competed in singles action, qualifying for the main draw with a straight-sets victory before tacking on another impressive win in the tournament's first round en route to earning her spot in the WTA rankings.
"With Elena, I couldn't be more proud of her," said Sullivan. "Together we made a list of long-term personal goals for her when she began college, and this was the first one on the list. With a WTA ranking, she will no longer have to play the qualifying rounds at this level, and will instead be given a spot in the main draw. It is a huge uphill battle to have to play two or even three rounds of qualifying in order to reach the main draw, and in the past Elena simply didn't have the mental or physical toughness to sustain a high level of play over an entire week.
"From when she entered college in 2011 to now, you can see a dramatic positive change in her fitness and believe me, it hasn't come easy for her. She has earned it the old-fashioned way, through commitment and discipline. Like any good coach, our dietitian Tara Boening would be the first one to give all of the credit to Elena, but we are very thankful to have her guiding us and this is a big victory for her as well."
Vogasari and Kordolaimi also teamed up in doubles action, posting two decisive victories before falling in a tight match in the semifinals. The Houston duo advanced to the doubles finals in an ITF event in May.
"Both of these girls are hyper-competitive athletes, but also very encouraging and positive teammates," said Sullivan. "It's exciting that they are able to compete together and push each other to greater heights, like two great runners in a race. They will be the leaders of a really great bunch, and I can tell you honestly that I have never been more excited to start a season than I am right now."