CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Feb. 8) – The first day of action at the 2013 ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship, hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar’s Head Sports Club, produced a number of competitive tennis matches but only one upset occurred on the day.
Second seeded Duke got off to a hot start in today’s match by winning the doubles point with ease against Baylor. The Blue Devils claimed wins at the first and second positions by identical scores of 8-4. Leading 1-0, Duke quickly made it 3-0 with a pair of wins at second and third singles, dropping just six games in the two matches. Baylor would get on the board as Emma Burgic took down Hanna Mar at first singles, 6-1, 6-4.
Baylor’s comeback fell short as Duke’s Marianne Jodoin sealed the win for the Blue Devils at the sixth spot with a tight 6-4, 6-3 victory. Although the score shows a 4-1 win in favor of Duke, the matches were all tightly contested. “Obviously everyone here is a good team and I thought that we did a good job playing the 50-50 points today” said Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth. “Whenever we come here we are trying to get wins and we have a great opportunity with this group, we’re excited.”
The other 9:00 a.m. match produced the day’s only upset as the Wildcats of Northwestern knocked-off seventh seeded Alabama, 4-1. Like the Duke match, Northwestern started the day by winning the doubles point, earning victories at the second and third positions.
Northwestern took a 2-0 lead behind Belinda Niu’s 6-4, 6-2 win at third singles. Alexa Guarachi made it 2-1 as she edged out a three set win at second singles. However, this would be the only singles victory on the day as Northwestern earned the deciding points at fourth and fifth singles. “I thought it was a really well contested match, the doubles was really one sided on all three courts one way or another but the singles was really tight all across the board” said Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard. “Alabama is hungry, they are coming off good successes last year, are really well coached and we had to play really well to win today.”
The Bruins of UCLA was the next team to advance to the quarterfinals as they fought off a scrappy Vanderbilt squad. UCLA began doubles play with an 8-4 win at the third spot but a battle ensued for the doubles point as two tiebreaks were needed to decide the outcome at first and second doubles. Vanderbilt tied things up with a win at first doubles as Lauren Mira and Courtney Colton took down No. 16 Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton, 7-3 in a breaker. However, a gutsy performance by Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez gave the Bruins the doubles point as they won in a breaker at 7-4. “Winning the doubles points always takes some pressure off” said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras-Webster. “We knew they had good doubles so we were expecting it and after we won the doubles point we knew that Vanderbilt was going to fight. We knew he had to step up our game to win that doubles point.”
A pair of quick results at first and sixth singles brought the match score to 2-1 in favor of UCLA, and following a win by Montez a third singles, the Bruins took a 3-1 lead. UCLA’s rookie standout Kyle McPhillips delivered the final blow of the contest as she pulled out a three setter, 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. “I was really pleased when we got the win” said Sampras-Webster.
Eighth seeded Miami was the next team to advance in the draw with a hard fought 4-2 win against a hard-hitting Nebraska team. Nebraska opened the match by rallying to take the doubles point with wins at first and second doubles after falling at the third spot. “Losing the doubles was kind of a hard one to swallow” said Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, she continues “but we were able to bounce back and change the momentum and weather the storm on a lot of courts. “
A focused Miami team fought back in the singles matches, winning at third-through-sixth singles to claim a 4-2 win. Kelsey Laurente clinched the victory for the Canes at the third position by battling back from a service break late in the third set, winning 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. “I think the key today was playing the middle of the court” said Yaroshuk-Tews. “We started doing that on courts four and five and at the end of Lesley’s match we started varying the shot selection so Nebraska had to back off a little bit. “I’m really proud of our girls to be able to come in and play such a fast paced match in such an early part of the tournament and respond. It was important for us.”
Like Miami, third seeded USC failed to claim the doubles point but survived the singles matches to reach the quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory. Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian were the only USC doubles team to pick up a win today, beating Stephanie Nauta and Li Xi in a rematch of the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships doubles final.
USC’s Gabriella DeSimone earned the deciding point today for the Trojans with a thrilling three set win at fourth singles. In a contrast of styles, DeSimone was able to play outstanding defense for most of the match, but she was at her best during the third set tiebreak in which she was able to sneak away with a 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) win. “We knew it was going to be a very difficult match because they are very good and they are on their home courts, so it was an excellent win for us” stated USC head coach Richard Gallien. “Virginia is really good and they are very talented so I’m really proud of our girls to step up to the challenge today. It’s so early in the year and we haven’t been tested much yet so to win a match like this is extra special.”
The sixth seeded Tar Heels of North Carolina were the next winners on the day as they served up the day’s first 4-0 score with a win against Texas A&M, although it did not come without a fight. North Carolina began the day with a tight loss at first doubles but came back to win at second and third doubles to take a 1-0 lead going into singles action.
North Carolina’s depth was never more apparent than in singles today as the lower half of their lineup was all business, picking up wins at fourth, fifth and sixth singles. “We thought the toughest first round opponent we could play would be Texas A&M because they are very talented so we are very fortunate to get through against a great team” said North Carolina head coach Brian Kalbas. “It was one of the toughest 4-0 matches we’ve ever had but I’m just real proud of the way we played disciplined, aggressive tennis. We are just really excited to move on.”
The night matches featured fourth seeded Georgia and fifth seeded Cal in action. The Bulldogs were up against the Texas Longhorns, while the Golden Bears faced off with Michigan. Georgia was able to grab the early advantage over Texas by taking the doubles point thanks to victories from its first and third doubles pairs. At the top spot, Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia teamed up to defeat Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott 8-1. The Bulldogs’ Lauren Herring and Mia King received a tougher test from their Longhorn opponents, but were able to secure the 8-5 victory.
Georgia appeared to be in full control early in singles play, winning four of six first sets and getting a very quick 6-1, 6-1 result at the second position from No. 18 Maho Kowase. Texas finally got on the board when Lina Padegimaite beat the Bulldogs’ Mia King 6-4, 6-2 at the fifth spot. The match seemed to be turning in the favor of the Longhorns when Aeriel Ellis was able to rally off eight consecutive games against eighth-ranked Herring en route to her 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 triumph at the top position, which evened the overall score at 2-2. However, Georgia would quickly recover, receiving a three-set win from Makenzie Craft at the sixth spot, followed shortly thereafter by Garcia’s hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 defeat of Elizabeth Begley at the fourth position, making the final score 4-2 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Cal needed some clutch doubles play against the Wolverines just to avoid falling into an early 1-0 hole. The duo of Lynn Chi and Anett Schutting was first off court with an 8-2 win for the Golden Bears, but Mimi Nguyen and Amy Zhu answered back for Michigan with an 8-5 triumph at the third spot. The doubles point was decided by the back and forth affair at the first position, which the Cal tandem of Zsofi Susanyi and Klara Fabikova secured by upsetting No. 21 Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender 8-7.
The Golden Bears seemed determined to put away the Wolverines quickly in singles, getting straight-set victories from 109th-ranked Chi and Fabikova to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Michigan won the opening sets at the bottom two spots and forced decisive third sets at the top two positions to extend the match, but in the end Cal was too much. It was seventh-ranked Susanyi who clinched it for the Golden Bears, defeating Bektas 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 at the first spot, giving Cal the 4-0 sweep.
Play continues on Saturday, February 9th at 9:00 am ET.