EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern got off to a great start in the ITA Indoor Team Championships, knocking off Arkansas, 5-2, Friday morning at Combe Tennis Center. With the win, NU returns to Combe Tennis Center tomorrow to take on Purdue -- a 4-3 victor over Washington State -- with an entry into the ITA Team Indoors Main Draw on the line.
Northwestern started strong in doubles play, capturing early breaks in all three matches. At No. 3, Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy proved too much for Yang Pang and Brittany Huxley, pulling away for an easy 8-2 win. Veronica Corning and Brittany Wowchuk were not far behind, holding off their opponents at No. 2, 8-5, to clinch the doubles point for the `Cats. The 42nd-ranked duo of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton were tied at 7, and had just started a tiebreak at No. 1 when the match was abandoned.
Fresh off an unfinished doubles match, Mushrefova made sure her result would count in singles, quickly dismantling Brittany Huxley, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 to give NU a 2-0 lead. The rest of the Wildcats started fast as well, capturing the opening set in four out of the five remaining matches. Brittany Wowchuk was the next to finish, taking down Sarah McLean at No. 4, 6-3, 6-4. Just minutes later, Kate Turvy completed a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles to clinch the dual victory for Northwestern.
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With the result decided, Belinda Niu surged back from a second set deficit to win, 7-6 (2), 6-4, at No. 3 over Kimberley-Ann Surin. Veronica Corning took the opening set at No. 2, 6-3, before Claudine Paulson fought back to take the second. Battling a leg cramp, Corning fought valiantly, but dropped the deciding super-tiebreak 10-8. After dropping the first set, Nida Hamilton climbed back to take the second and push the third to a tiebreak, but ultimately fell, 7-3, in the breaker.
The Wildcats take on the winner of this afternoon's match between No. 26 Purdue and No. 32 Washington State tomorrow at 2 p.m. Arkansas faces this afternoon's loser tomorrow at 10 a.m., with both matches being played at Combe Tennis Center.
Northwestern 5, Arkansas 2
1. Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton (NU) unfinished Paulson/Jonker (ARK) 7-7 (1-2)
2. Corning/Wowchuk (NU) def. Surin/Belmar (ARK) 8-5
3. Niu/Turvy (NU) def. Pang/Huxley (ARK) 8-2
Order of finish:3, 2*
1. No. 67 Kate Turvy (NU) def. Yang Pang (ARK) 6-1, 6-2
2. Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. Veronica Corning (NU) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
3. Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kimberley-Ann Surin (ARK) 7-6 (2), 6-4
4. Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Sarah McLean (ARK) 6-3, 6-4
5. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Brittany Huxley (ARK) 6-1, 6-3
6. Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez (ARK) def. Nida Hamilton (NU) 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (3)
Order of finish:5, 4, 1*, 3, 2, 6