The Panthers are currently in the Top 40 in the country. (Twitter/@FIUAthletics)

Welcome to Florida Week! As the tours head southeast for the Miami Open, and Baseline will feature all things Sunshine State. You’ll learn about the personalities, stories, teams and venues that have made Florida one of the tennis capitals of the world. We’ll also be reporting from the Miami Open in Key Biscayne.

As you’ll learn this week, when it comes to tennis, Florida isn’t just a state—it’s a state of mind.

Florida International University has seen a lot of success in recent years, with the Panthers achieving a winning percentage of .850 (the second-highest in school history) last season, as well as advancing to the Conference USA championships as the No. 1 seed. The university boasts only a women's tennis team.

Key Player

Andrea Lazaro plays No. 1 singles and had one of the best records on the team in the 2016 season, while earning the Doubles Team of the Championship for the C-USA tournament and FIU Coach's Award.

Prior to college, Lazaro had some success as a pro, winning two $10,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 651.

Head Coach

Katarina Petrovic came into the program in 2012, when the team was suffering through a 3-17 record. But things would quickly turn around. In 2013, the team finished with a 13-8 record, which they improved to 11-7 in 2014 and then 13-8 in 2015. They didn't stop there, ending last season with a 17-3 record and a No. 46 ranking.

The Panthers are currently ranked No. 38 in the country, and have only lost one match.

Program Highlights

Florida International has qualified for the NCAA Championships on eight occasions. The last time was in 2011, when they reached the round of 32. Last season was the first year since 2001 that the team had above a .850 percentage winning record.

In the 2017 season so far, the women have compiled a 13-match winning streak.