Valeria Solovyeva captures tennis title _lowres

Photo by -- APRIL BUFFINGTON Valeria Solovyeva celebrates her 2-1 set victory over Jennifer Elie during the women's singles championship game during the Southern Lifestyle Development Classic held at the LSU Tennis Complex on Sunday, June 26.

Valeria Solovyeva of Saratov, Russia, capped her run at the USTA Women’s Pro Circuit’s Southern Lifestyle Development Tennis Classic, defeating Jennifer Elie of New York 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 Sunday morning at the LSU Tennis Complex to win the singles title.

Solovyeva won two singles titles on the International Tennis Federation Pro Circuit, including one earlier this year in Naples, Florida. It is her third ITF circuit title this year, including the doubles title at Naples event.

Solovyeva defeated the No. 1 seed of the tournament Riko Sawayanagi from Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan, in the semifinals on Saturday, 6-2 and 6-3 to advance to the finals.

“Solovyeva showed tons of grit and determination,” LSU co-head coach Michael Sell said. “She fought like a tiger, especially after losing such a tough first set. She had a great two weeks after she lost in the finals last week, so it’s impressive to back up last week with a singles title.”

Elie had Solovyeva on her heels, winning the first set 7-5, after throwing her off of her rhythm with her touch on the ball.

But Solovyeva had a sense of urgency and gained control in the second set, where she went 25-of-27 on second serves and won 13 of 24 second-serve points.

Solovyeva capped the win with a 6-0 victory in the final set in a match that lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes.

“The level of tennis was incredible and so many great players experienced how beautiful LSU is,” Sell said. “We had an increasing amount in attendance as the tournament went along, so the word is spreading. Our goal is to get the local tennis community more involved with coming to watch. I believe once more people experience this tournament, they will be thirsty to come back to watch more tennis.”

Lauren Herring and Ellen Perez took home the doubles title.

The circuit’s next tournament begins Monday in El Paso, Texas.