Santos-Bravo Battles Through Injury in Great Dane Debut 

Photo: Irene Santos-Bravo (above) played two matches at the National College Tennis Classic. 

Palm Springs, Calif. – Irene Santos-Bravo made her debut as a member of the University at Albany women's tennis team in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic on Friday, Jan. 18. The Madrid native drew No. 3 seeded Kaitlin Ray (UCLA) in the first round, dropping the match 6-0, 6-1. Santos-Bravo had injured her leg on Thursday and would have to retire in the second round against Amelia Herring (Stanford).

UAlbany tennis coach Gordon Graham announced the signing of Santos-Bravo on Jan. 9. She will start the season as the Great Dane's No. 1 singles player after a stint in 2010 on the WTA Tour and a ranking of No. 18 for singles in Spain. 

The National Collegiate Tennis Classic invites many of the nation's top tennis players to kick off the spring season. Ray, a UCLA sophomore, hardly missed a ball throughout Friday's match. Despite the injury, Santos-Bravo displayed her strong forehand on muitple occasions. However, Ray used her speed to take charge and triumphed with the victory. She is currently ranked the No. 38 singles player.

In the back draw, Santos-Bravo's leg was doing no better. She dropped her second match to Herring, 6-1, ret.

“Irene [Santos-Bravo] showed spurts of dictating the points,” said Graham. “She has a big forehand and was able to dictate her style of play when not having to run much on the leg.”

The Great Dane graduate student is expected to be back for the season-opener vs. Marist, Feb. 1. Match time is set for 2 p.m. at Tri-City Fitness in Latham, N.Y.