URBANA, Ill. — No more playing timid for Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt.
The All-American put the hammer down in cruising past Klara Fabikova of California 6-2, 6-1 on Thursday to become the first Husker woman to reach the round of 16 at the NCAA singles championships.
Weatherholt, a senior from Prairie Village, Kan., said she was tentative and nervous at times Wednesday in beating UNLV's Aleksandra Josifoska 6-4, 6-4 in her first match. They met just a few weeks ago in the second round of the team competition, and Weatherholt won.
“I just wasn't moving my feet as well,” Weatherholt said. “I was playing tight and not hitting through my shots.”
She came out more focused on Thursday. Fabikova didn't have much of a chance.
“She was a good player and everything,” Weatherholt said. “I just got some crucial points that gave me the momentum early on.”
Nebraska assistant Hayden Perez could tell that Weatherholt had a new attitude Thursday in the day's first match at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. He said she played with reckless abandon in overcoming a solid opponent.
“Mary is kind of in charge of her own destiny,” he said. “There are not a lot of players who can hang with Mary when she plays fearless.”
With her 203rd career combined victory and the 120th singles win of her career, Weatherholt improved to 27-1. She next will take on No. 3 seed Robin Anderson of UCLA, who posted a 7-6 (1), 6-2 victory over Santa Clara's Katie Le.
They have never played before.
Weatherholt opened doubles play with fellow Husker senior All-American Patricia Veresova later Thursday to defeat Masa Grgan and Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6).
In the men's doubles competition, Omaha native Jackson Withrow teamed with Junior Ore, and the Texas A&M duo defeated Elon's Stefan Fortmann and Cameron Silverman 7-6 (3), 6-3.