OAKDALE — Kaitlyn Rausa is returning to the Valley Oak League Singles Tournament final, and this time as a heavy favorite.
After shutting out her first two opponents, the Sierra sophomore defeated teammate Nadia Petrovic 7-6, 6-0 in the semifinal round Tuesday at Oakdale High. Rausa lost to Tay Talamentes of Oakdale 2-6, 1-6 in the title match last year.
The VOL singles final will take place Thursday during the doubles tournament. There, she’ll face third-seeded Sarah Van Ness of Central Catholic. Manteca’s Julia Tang, the No. 2 seed and Rausa’s toughest challenger over the course of the regular season, retired (dehydration) from her semifinal with Van Ness down 4-5. Tang is questionable for the doubles tournament.
It was a rough day overall for Manteca, the reigning VOL team champion that will vie for a second straight Sac-Joaquin Section team title starting next Wednesday, Nov. 1. No. 2 player Koryn Menasco, seeded No. 4, was knocked off by Sierra freshman Ellie Kim 8-0 in the quarterfinals. Taylor Corona was eliminated by Van Ness, 4-6, 0-6.
Rausa opened with a bye before cruising past Lathrop’s Tala Alkhatib, 8-0 and Central Catholic’s Isabella Naraghi, 6-0, 6-0. She’s undefeated against VOL opponents this season, and her perfect record includes 6-2, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-2 victories over Van Ness.
The two singles finalists and two doubles finalists on Thursday will advance to the SJS Division II Individual Tournament Nov. 2-3 at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville.