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Published 02/19/2013
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Match Point: Clementina Riobueno

The University of Miami women's tennis program has made a name for itself internationally.

That's how Venezuelan Clementina Riobueno learned of the university she would ultimately attend.

"Laura Vallverdu, she's from Venezuela," Riobueno said. "She was in the news in Venezuela every single week saying that they're doing great."

Riobueno, who enrolled at UM this spring, was home-schooled prior to arriving at Miami and has enjoyed being a part of a larger educational setting.

"I prefer regular school because you have more friends," Riobueno said. "You get to know all of them. I'm super happy right now. I'm enjoying every second that I'm here."

The newcomer has quickly made a name for herself in the college game, as she has opened her collegiate career a perfect 8-0 in dual matches. Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews believes the freshman brings a different dimension to the Hurricanes young team.

"Clementina adds a lot of personality and she adds talent, of course," Yaroshuk-Tews said. "She's very feisty on the court. She kind of plays the style of tennis that I love, so it's fun for me to coach her. She lightens up the mood a lot with the girls. The girls sometimes tend to get a little stressed out and Clementina is able to keep things light. It's pretty positive. "

In the final week of January, Riobueno was named ACC Player of the Week, after helping her team advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

"It's going great," Riobueno said. "I mean I've been here for a month and I'm doing really well."

Earlier this month, Riobueno was ranked by ITA for the first time as a college player and named to the ITA All-Tournament Team. But she admits she was nervous to come play for Yaroshuk-Tews.

"The first day I came here I was so nervous because she's very strict," Riobueno said. "But I have so much respect for her. If she told me to do something, I would do it."

Even with all of her early success, there are still some things the talented freshman hopes to improve on.

"Sometimes, in real matches, I'm more intense than in practice," Riobueno. "So I'm working on that right now, being more positive, trying to run to every single volley in practice and all that."

Yaroshuk-Tews has seen improvement with the consistency level between practices and matches, but Riobueno is only beginning.

"Clementina has been doing what she needs to do to continue improving because she is such talented kid," Yaroshuk-Tews said. "But she's been keeping her foot on the gas in practice and then in matches, it has just become kind of second nature. It has really helped her a lot."

Beyond improving her game, Riobueno hopes to accomplish a lot before her time at Miami is over.

"I really want to finish my career in the Top 10 in the singles rankings and Top 5 in doubles," Riobueno said. "As a team, I hope we're No. 1 in the country."