URBANA, IL - Beatrice Gumulya and Yana Koroleva each advanced to the second round of the NCAA Singles Championships in Urbana, IL on Wednesday. With Gumulya and Koroleva advancing, it marked just the fourth time in school history (1986, 2008, 2009, 2013) that two or more Tigers have won a match at the NCAA Singles Championships in the same season.
Gumulya won a 6-3, 7-5 decision over No. 61 Dominique Harmath of Rice in a morning match. Koroleva, a national 9-16 seed, shrugged off a slow start and a change of venue against No. 23 Jenny Jullien of St. Mary’s for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 rain-interrupted victory.
A third Tiger, freshman Liz Jeukeng, saw her season come to an end despite a huge comeback and several opportunities to move on. She fell, 0-6, 7-5, 6-7, to No. 76 Cindy Chala of VCU in a match that took nearly four hours due to rain stoppages and being forced indoors.
Gumulya will play her second round match at 1:00 pm eastern on Thursday against No. 7 overall seed Gina Suarez-Malaguti of North Carolina. Koroleva is scheduled to start at 1:30 pm against Zoe De Bruycker, also of North Carolina.
In the first match, Harmath held the first game, as she started to feel out the Tiger sophomore. Gumulya stayed patient, as Harmath tried to force unforced errors by keeping the ball in play. Gumulya rattled off four straight games to take a 4-1 lead. Harmath broke back and held, but Gumulya shut the door with a hold and a break to close the set.
In the second set, Harmath earned an early break to go ahead 2-1. However, Gumulya took the next three games to take a 4-2 lead. Harmath responded with a break to get back on serve, a hold to knot the match at 4-4, and a break to go ahead, 5-4 and serving for the set. However, Gumulya broke Harmath at love and held to go up 6-5. Gumulya never trailed in the next game, clinching the match on a break at 30-40 when Harmath’s forehand sailed long.
Gumulya will play ACC Player of the Year and seven-seed Gina Suarez-Malaguti in the second round. Suarez defeated Mary Anne Macfarlane of Alabama, 6-2, 6-4, to advance. Gumulya and Suarez have met once before, a dual match in 2012. In that match, Gumulya won, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.
Koroleva also won her NCAA debut with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against West Coast Conference Player of the Year Jenny Jullien of St. Mary’s (California). Jullien, ranked 23rd in the nation proved to be a tough task for Koroleva, who needed a change of site in order to pull out the win. Trailing 3-6, 2-1 in the second set, rain forced many of the matches inside at the adjacent Atkins Indoor Tennis Center. Koroleva jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, and held on to force a third.
In the third set, Jullien earned a break, taking the first two games, but Koroleva responded with five straight games to take a 5-2 lead. Jullien pulled to within a game at 5-4, but Koroleva held on for her tenth straight win overall, and her fourth of the season after dropping the first set.
Koroleva is now 26-7 on the year, and has won 17 of her last 18 matches. Seventeen over her 26 wins have come against ranked players. She’ll play Tar Heel Zoe De Bruycker, who won a three-set decision over Koroleva in the fall at the Furman Fall Classic.
In the last match for a Tiger, Liz Jeukeng got off to a very slow start against No. 76 Cindy Chala of VCU. Chala won the first set, 6-0, and broke Jeukeng five straight times to start the match. The Rams’ top player and A-10 Most Outstanding Player ran down nearly every ball, doing an effective job of making Jeukeng work.
In the second set, the two exchanged breaks, but Chala went ahead 3-1, and would take a 4-2 lead. However, Jeukeng held serve for the first time to draw within one game at 4-3, and earned a break to tie the match outdoors.
After the first point of the eighth game, the rains again came and forced the match indoors. Chala would break Jeukeng to set up her serve for the match, but the Tiger frosh snapped back with a break of her own to knot the set at 5-5. She would go on to hold for the 6-5 lead, and break again to force a third set with a 7-5 win.
In the third set, Jeukeng took a long first game before Chala took the next two games to go up 2-1. Jeukeng responded with four straight games to take a 5-2 lead and looked to have the match in had, with two chances to serve to win the match. However, Chala pieced together three straight games to pull even at 5-5. Jeukeng took the next game, but Chala forced a tiebreak, which she won, 7-2. The Tiger frosh, who turns 17 in four days, closes the season at 18-7.
She is one of two known student-athletes in Clemson history to enroll in January and be named to the All-ACC team in the same season, joining Kyle Parker in baseball.
Rd. of 64: #40 Beatrice Gumulya (CU) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE), 6-3, 7-5
Rd. of 64: #16 Yana Koroleva (CU) def. #23 Jenny Jullien (SMC), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Rd. of 64: #76 Cindy Chala (VCU) def. #33 Liz Jeukeng (CU), 6-0, 5-7, 7-6(2)
Rd. of 32, 1 pm Thu.: #40 Beatrice Gumulya (CU) v. #7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC)
Rd. of 32, 1:30 pm Thu.: #16 Yana Koroleva (CU) v. #49 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC)