Next week, Georgia will travel to Charlottesville, Va. for the ITA National Indoor Team Championships.
ATLANTA – No. 21 Vanderbilt won its fourth-straight match Saturday afternoon following a 6-1 win at No. 22 Georgia Tech at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
The Commodores are now 4-0 to begin the season with all four wins coming over top 30 teams. Georgia Tech dropped to 2-2 with the loss.
Lauren Mira, playing in the No. 1 position, improved her dual record to 6-1 after an impressive win over Georgia Tech’s No. 39 Elizabeth Kilborn, 6-3, 7-5. Mira, a Baton Rouge, La., native is playing her best tennis of the season in helping lead the Commodores to a 4-0 start.
Mira and Courtney Colton started the day in dominating fashion winning in No. 1 doubles. The Vandy duo trailed 2-1, before winning the next seven games to win, 8-2, over Kilborn and Alex Anghelescu.
Frances Altick and Georgina Sellyn then delivered with a win in No. 3 doubles over Muriel Wacker and Natasha Prokhnevska. Altick and Sellyn faced a similar deficit to that of Colton and Mira early in their match. Trailing 2-1, the two freshmen went on to win, 8-3.
In No. 2 doubles, Ashleigh Antal and Marie Casares fell for the first time in dual competition this season. Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard were able to come away with the win, 8-4, for the Yellow Jackets.
Leading 1-0 after doubles, Vanderbilt got out to a quick start in singles action, as Altick defeated Kurey in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, in the No. 4 position. Casares then registered a win in No. 3 singles to give Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead. The Quito, Ecuador, native defeated (Alex) Anghelescu, 6-3, 6-4.
Antal sealed the win for Vanderbilt in No. 6 singles. The sophomore defeated (Muriel) Wacker, 7-6, 6-4.
After dropping the first set (3-6), (Georgina) Sellyn battled back to win the second and third sets over (Natasha) Prokhnevska, 7-5, 6-2. Sellyn is now 5-1 in dual action and 9-2 overall in her first season at Vanderbilt.
In the longest match of the day, Colton fell to (Kendal) Woodard, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6.
Vanderbilt heads to Charlottesville, Va., for the 2013 ITA National Team Indoors Championship Feb. 8-11. The University of Virginia is the host school.
No. 1 Florida Women Sweep Baylor
The top-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team earned the hard-fought doubles point, where senior All-American Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) earned the 100th career doubles victory, and the Gators defeated No. 15 Baylor, 7-0, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
“We showed a lot of class today, Baylor’s a great team,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “They fight really hard and are more skilled in doubles than I anticipated. I thought we showed quality to get out with the doubles point.”
Embree became the 14th different Gator to reach the 100-win plateau for doubles, as she improved her 100-18 in her distinguished collegiate doubles career. Embree also notched her 99th career singles victory with her 6-4, 6-7 (6), 1-0 (10-7) win against 16th-ranked Ema Burgic.
The gusty Gator senior who is known for outlasting her opponent in pressure-filled team competitions, was involved in yet another lengthy match even though the team outcome had already been secured. In what proved to be one of the best and most competitive matches of the day, Embree won the first set after earning a break in the final game. She then found herself receiving, down 5-2 before staging one of her patented comebacks, rallying to win four straight games and taking a 6-5 lead. Burgic held serve and forced a tiebreak, as she had to fight off two match points before holding on her second game-point opportunity.
In the second-set tiebreak, Embree jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Burgic battled back and with a mini-break on the ninth point and held on her next two trips to the baseline for the 6-5 advantage. Embree’s next serve tied the breaker at 6-all, but Burgic broke before holding to force a third set.
“I got a little mad,” Embree said of falling behind. “I crawled my way back and had a couple chances in the tiebreak. She kept fighting, credit to her.”
Embree again jumped out and took a 3-0 lead before Burgic won three straight points. Embree held for 4-3 and earned a mini-break for a 5-4 lead. She won both of her next two serves and held a 7-4 advantage. Burgic also held her next two serves and after Embree held captured another break, cutting Embree’s lead to 8-7. The Gator senior, however, won the final two points to end the match.
“Anything can happen in a 10-point tiebreak so I just tried to focus one point at a time and take control when I had my chances,” Embree shared.
“You would have though the team score was tied at 3-3 with the level of intensity in that final match on,” Thornqvist said. “You have to give Burgic a lot of credit because there were four or five times when I thought she was going to go away and she found a way to battle back into the match. Lauren is just the best in the business when it comes to close matches at the end and today was no different. She has the heart of a warrior.”
Freshman Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) was the first Gator off the court, as she posted a decisive 6-1, 6-1 victory over Alex Leatu in 54 minutes. The rookie held at love to begin the match and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Leatu took Morgan’s next serve, but the Gator ripped off the next four games to take the opening set. Leatu held to begin the second set, but that would be her only game, as Morgan rolled through the final six games for the straight-set win and gave Florida a 2-0 lead.
Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) was the next off the court with her 6-2, 6-2 victory against Jordaan Sanford at the number three position. Cercone earned breaks in the fourth, sixth and eighth games to claim the first set, before racing out to a 5-0 lead in the second as she broke in the final game to capture the win and give Florida a 3-0 lead.
Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) provided the clinching singles victory, a 6-4, 6-0 decision over Kiah Generette on court four, where she capped the match with a beautifully placed lob for a winner. Collins began the match with a break and rode that to the first set before posting a bagel in the second for the straight-set victory.
Top-ranked Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) then downed Megan Horter, 6-4, 6-3, and gave the Gators their fifth point of the match. The Gator junior jumped out to a 3-0 lead, up one break. Horter broke late, but couldn’t hold off Oyen, who managed the break to take the first set. The two traded breaks early in the second and Oyen claimed another in the sixth game for the 4-2 lead. She then held in her final two games to close out the match.
Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) needed three sets to earn Florida’s sixth point of the dual match, as she emerged with a 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-5) decision over Victoria Kisialeva. After winning a quick first set, Janowicz and her opponent held to begin the second before the next nine games were all breaks, as Kisialeva ended the streak by holding in the 12th game and forcing a third set. Janowicz jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the 10-point third-set super-tiebreak, as Kisialeva roared back to take a 5-4 lead. The Gator junior refocused and won the final six points and earned the one hour and 43 minute victory.
Florida captured the doubles point with victories on courts one and three. The Gator pair of Alexandra Cercone and Brianna Morgan overcame a slow start when they trailed Megan Horter and Alex Leatu, 3-1, and were the first to post a result after claiming seven straight games to en route to the their 8-3 decision in 46 minutes, capped by Cercone holding at love for the win.
On court one, Embree teamed with Sofie Oyen defeated Ema Burgic and Kiah Generette, 8-5, to secure the first team point of the dual match. The Gator pair jumped out to an early 3-1 lead thanks to an early break and that’s all it needed as the tandem held serve throughout, earning its second break in the final game where they lost just one point to take the match. Embree fell behind 15-40 on her serve in the 12th game, but the Gators battled back and won three straight points for their first game-point. They had one more after that, before having to fend off a break point, which they did and ended the battle on their third game-point opportunity to take the 7-5 lead. They carried that momentum in the final game for the victory and Embree’s milestone win.
“It’s cool,” Embree said of reaching the 100-win plateau. “That’s a lot of matches and a pretty cool stat.”
Florida’s Danielle Collins and Olivia Janowicz were serving with a 40-15 lead and their court two doubles match even at 6-all against Jordaan Sanford and Victoria Kisialeva when play was halted.
The Gators have some time off before their next competition which takes place on February 17 at No. 3 Duke in Raleigh, N.C.
LSU Knocks Off SMU
BATON ROUGE - The LSU women's tennis team (3-0) defeated SMU (1-2) after battling back from early Mustang success to take the match, 4-3.
"We got affirmation that what we've been working on is what we need to do," head coach Julia S. Sell said. "(SMU) is a heck of a team. They battle, they're all solid and they all know how to win. On paper, they're a much more talented and experienced team than we are, but we out-competed them at certain spots. That's what you have to do to win matches."
The Lady Tigers split the first two doubles matches of the day, as the Kaitlin Burns and Caroline Hudson duo fell 8-4 to Elena Fayner and Edyta Cieplucha of SMU and the court one pair of Ariel Hudson and Mary Jeremiah triumphed 8-3 over SMU's Aleksandra Malyarchikova and Vaszilisza Bulgakova.
Seniors Ebie Wilson and Keri Frankenberger fought through a nail-biting tiebreaker against the Mustangs' Holly Verner and Hristina Dishkova, but could not secure the doubles point as they faced an 8-7 (8-6) loss.
Freshman Ella Taylor put the Lady Tigers on the board as she secured the first singles win of the day and her 10th LSU career win, a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory against SMU's Bulgakova on court three.
Two Mustang wins followed, bringing SMU within a point of clinching the match. Jeremiah faced a 6-2, 6-3 loss to SMU's Cieplucha, and No. 112 Burns fell 6-4, 6-3 to Malyarchikova of SMU.
Morton brought back steam for the Lady Tigers as she recovered from a 6-0 loss in the first set to tally 6-2, 7-5 scores in the second and third sets and win the match over Yana Erkeeva.
Tying the match 3-3 was freshman Caroline Hudson, who notched a third-set win over Dishkova of SMU 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Wilson faced a match-deciding third set as the only court still in play, with her first two sets marking 3-6, 7-5 scores. The senior battled SMU's Fayner and ultimately took the third set 6-3, notched her 40th career win and clinched the match for the Lady Tigers.
"If there's anybody you want up last in your match, it's Ebie (Wilson)," Sell said. "She understands how to win, she knows what works for her and she fights like crazy. She's great competitor. The momentum shift today and the highlight to me was Ariel (Morton). She came out nervous in doubles and worked through it. In singles, she kept sticking to her game plan and eventually it worked for her. It takes a lot of courage to do that. She did it beautifully, and I thought that changed the whole match."
The No. 46 Lady Tigers will next see action Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. CT as LSU faces No. 59 Tulane in the team's first road match of the season.
For the latest information on the women's tennis team, follow the Lady Tigers on Twitter @lsuwten and @LSUJuliaSell and on www.Facebook.com/lsuwten.
Aggies Cruise to Road Win at TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas - The 16th ranked Texas A&M men's tennis team defeated No. 67 TCU, 6-1, at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Fort Worth in front of 1,125 fans. The Aggies, which improved to 5-0 on the season, are off to their best start in 14 years when the 1999 team also started 6-0.
"We did a great job today competing on the road," said head coach Steve Denton. "We were able to take their crowd out of the match early by winning the doubles and winning five of the first six sets in singles. I'm very proud of the fire in this team"
The Aggies got off to a quick start in doubles with the No. 6 freshmen tandem of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant defeating Max Stevens and J.T. Sundling, 8-3, at the No. 2 position to improve to 15-4 on the year and 4-0 in dual matches. Shortly after, the duo of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow, playing from the No. 1 line, clinched the doubles point with an 8-7 (7-2) victory over Nick Chappell and Will Stein. The pair of Withrow and Ore also improved to 4-0.
Harrison Adams, who garnered SEC Freshman of the Week honors this past week, kept the momentum rolling as he downed Facundo Lugones, 6-4, 6-3, from the No. 3 line to boost the Aggie lead to 2-0 and improve his record to 5-0 in dual matches. Moments later, Junior Ore increased the lead to 3-0 by upsetting No. 100 Arnau Dachs, 6-1, 6-4, at the No. 2 position. The Gaithersburg, Md. native improved to 3-0 in dual matches and 8-0 overall. Texas A&M clinched the match behind the racket of Jackson Withrow. The sophomore knocked off Rudolfo Bustamante, 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 5 line and improved his record to 4-0. No. 103 Jeremy Efferding bested Nick Chappell at the No. 1 position, 6-4, 6-1, expanding the Aggie lead to 5-0 and improving his record to 4-0. The lone setback of the day occurred at the No. 4 line when Orlando Superlano was able to down Shane Vinsant, 6-7 (7-3), 6-2, 10-2. The loss marks the first point Texas A&M has dropped on the season. Finally, No. 87 Jordan Szabo defeated J.T. Sundling, 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 10-7, to close out the day for the Aggies.
Texas A&M will be in action again this Thursday as they travel to Houston to take on Rice. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. To learn more about the Aggie men's tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
Bama Women Pick Up Win Over TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas - The ninth-ranked Alabama women's tennis team earned a 4-1 victory on Saturday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, handing TCU its first loss of the season. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 3-0 while the loss drops the Horned Frogs to 3-1 overall.
TCU would end up claiming the doubles point with wins on courts one and three, playing against a different doubles lineup than Alabama had last weekend. At the No. 3 spot, junior Gabi Barbosa and sophomore Simona Parajova picked up an 8-3 win over Tide sophomore Yasmeen Ebada and freshman Natalia Maynetto, before senior Olivia Smith and junior Millie Nichols posted an 8-4 victory against senior Alexa Guarachi and freshman Maya Jansen to give the Horned Frogs the early edge.
The Tide would come back strong in singles, however, claiming all four of the matches that finished. Sophomore Emily Zabor wasted no time getting on the board as she dominated Barbosa on court five, winning 6-0, 6-1, to even the match at 1-1. Alabama would soon take the lead as Foehse topped Nichols on court four, 6-3, 6-3. From there, the Tide would get wins from 13th-ranked Guarachi and 12th-ranked Macfarlane at the top of the lineup to seal the victory for Alabama.
The Tide will play its second match of the weekend tomorrow when it takes on SMU in Dallas at Noon CT.
South Carolina Men Handle Wofford
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 47 South Carolina completed its doubleheader sweep with a 4-0 win over Wofford Saturday afternoon at USC Field House. Dominant doubles play set the tone, and the second half of the lineup took the courts first to compile the Gamecocks' sixth win of the season. Senior Harry Menzies and sophomore Ben Barnette completed perfect afternoons, winning both their singles and doubles matches.
The Gamecocks overpowered the Terriers in the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles matches, dropping a single game between them. While Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov toiled against Walker Heffron and Rob Galloway at the top of the lineup, Kyle Koch and Menzies swept through an 8-0 win over David Sklar and Jackson Keith in the No. 2 match. Barnette and Thiago Pinheiro need just one extra game to dispatch Graham Duncan and Parks Thompson 8-1 in the No. 3 match to earn the first team point of the match.
In singles play, South Carolina stormed to first-set wins in the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 matches. Koch was the first to deliver his point, topping Heffron 6-1, 6-3 behind strong serving and efficient baseline play. Menzies finished his afternoon yielding just three games to Duncan in a well-crafted 6-2, 6-1 victory. Pinheiro was on the ropes in the No. 3 match against Galloway, but the Gamecock sophomore fought to a tiebreaker, which he powered through 7-6 (3) to win the first set.
In the No. 6 match, Barnette topped Thompson 6-1 in the first set and was in control of the second 5-0, but saw the Terriers' freshman win the next five games to push him to the wall. Barnette used long baseline rallies to hold his serve for a 6-5 edge before putting Thompson away with a service break for a 7-5 victory.
With the team match decided, play in all other matches was suspended.
Vols Shut Out Illini On Road Courts
URBANA, Ill. -- The 15th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers returned to Illinois for the second time in eight days and earned the same result Saturday night at Atkins Tennis Center.
A 4-0 victory.
The Vols (10-0) secured a nailbiting doubles point that came down to a tiebreaker on court 3 to start the match and seized momentum early in singles in front of a hostile road crowd.
In last week's 4-0 win over the Illini (3-3) to start the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the Vols and Illinois split first sets before Tennessee eventually recorded the shutout.
This time around, Tennessee won five of six first sets in singles, and the pieces started falling into place quickly. Junior Jarryd Chaplin and sophomore Mikelis Libietis picked up straight-set wins before John Collins clinched the match on court 5 with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Brian Page.
"We came out a lot more relaxed," Chaplin said. "Personally, I had a game plan and just executed that, and I had no doubt that my teammates would do the same thing. Sure enough, we wound up with the same result as last week, and it was awesome.
The doubles point came down the wire, but it did not unfold that way initially.
Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon handed Collins and Edward Jones their second loss in dual match play, 8-2 on court 2. Libietis and Chaplin, the 26th-ranked team in the country, evened the doubles point a minute later by defeating Stephen Hoh and Bruno Abdelnour 8-3.
On court 3, it was all Tennessee to start the match. Sophomores Hunter Reese and Brandon Fickey led 5-0 at one point, but Illinois' Jared Hiltzik and Farris Gosea surged back with their teammates and crowd behind them.
Reese was eventually broken serving for the doubles point at 7-6, and the match went into a tiebreaker, which the Vol duo eventually won 7-4.
"The crowd really got into it, which was awesome," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "Our guys need this experience. It was a great effort by their team and crowd to get us on edge. I'm really proud of Brandon and Hunter. When they needed to step up and hit shots under pressure, they did."
Doubles point in hand, the Vols took care of business in singles against Illinois, a team that was coming off a 4-3 victory over fifth-ranked Duke the night before.
Chaplin was first off the court with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Kopinski at the No. 3 position. Libietis followed suit with a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 1 against Hoh to put the Vols up 3-0 and set up Collins' clinching point on court 5.
"I think we learned from last week," Winterbotham said. "We came here with a high energy doubles point and went to the locker room and didn't calm ourselves down enough. Whether we won the doubles point or not, we were in a great position to win the match. We're not dependent on winning doubles points to winning matches, which is another good lesson for us."
Reese and Jones had also won their first sets on courts 2 and 6 respectively. The remaining matches were suspended when the Vols secured the team victory at 4-0.