COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 29 TCU women’s tennis team secured a 4-1 first round NCAA Tennis Championships victory over No. 60 Saturday morning at the Mitchell Tennis Center. The Horned Frogs secured their first NCAA Championships victory since a 2009 win over Tulsa in the first round.
“I am happy we played a good match,” TCU head coach Dave Borelli said. “I can only be happy if we are playing near our best at the NCAA Championships. However, we will have a big challenge ahead tomorrow regardless of who we play.”
TCU started the day with a strong performance to take the doubles point. Playing together as a doubles team for the first time since April 15, No. 53 Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith cruised to an 8-1 victory over UNT’s Valentina Starkova and Barbora Vykydalova. The Horned Frogs secured the doubles point with the team of Monika Sirilova and Stefanie Tan picked up an 8-3 win over Danè Joubert and Ilona Serchenko of the Mean Green.
“We picked the right time to play our best doubles of the season,” Borelli said. “We have always had good doubles teams in my time at TCU, but we struggled this season. Today, we had our confidence back.”
Sirilova made the quickest work in singles to make TCU’s lead 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles over Serchenko.
Borelli and the Horned Frogs made a lineup chance by moving Simona Parajova up to No. 2 singles to face Vykydalova, whom she faced in the regular season matchup between TCU and UNT. The result in February went in favor of the Mean Green, but today’s belonged to Parajova and the Horned Frogs as she posted a 6-4, 6-3 win to get TCU its third team point.
“I feel Simona can win no matter what spot we put her at,” Borelli said. “The move was nothing against Olivia, we just felt it was good for Simona to play someone she has already faced this year. She was able to redeem the February loss.”
Tan, No. 44 in the ITA singles rankings continued her strong play at No. 1 singles with a convincing 6-1, 6-4 victory over UNT’s Kseniya Bardabush to clinch the match.
TCU was also in control at No. 4 singles with Kelsey Sundaram leading Franziska Sprinkmeyer 6-2, 5-3 when the match was ended. At No. 6 singles, Federica Denti had battled back from a first set loss to have a 5-2 second set lead of Agustina Valenzuela.
The win sets up a matchup with the winner of the Texas A&M-Southern matchup tomorrow at 1 p.m. The match was not completed at the time of publication.
“It was one of our goals to play for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen,” Borelli concluded. “We are in that spot. If we play Texas A&M, we have to remember that we have all beaten someone better than us in our careers and we can again.”
No. 29 TCU 4, No. 60 North Texas 1
No. 1 – No. 44 Stefanie Tan (TCU) def. Kseniya Bardabush (UNT), 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 – Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Barbora Vykydalova (UNT), 6-4, 6-3
No. 3 – Valentina Starkova (UNT) def. No. 122 Olivia Smith (TCU), 6-2, 6-2
No. 4 – Kelsey Sundaram (TCU) vs. Franziska Sprinkmeyer (UNT), 6-2, 5-3 unfinished
No. 5 – Monika Sirilova (TCU) def. Ilona Serchenko (UNT), 6-2, 6-0
No. 6 – Federica Denti (TCU) vs. Agustina Valenzuela (UNT), 4-6, 5-2 unfinished
No. 1 – No. 53 Millie Nichols/Olivia Smith (TCU) def. Valentina Starkova/Barbora Vykydalova (UNT), 8-1
No. 2 – Federica Denti/Kelsey Sundaram (TCU) vs. Kseniya Bardabush/Franziska Sprinkmeyer (UNT), 6-4 unfinished
No. 3 – Monika Sirilova/Stefanie Tan (TCU) def. Danè Joubert/Ilona Serchenko (UNT), 8-3
TCU: 18-6; National Ranking #29
North Texas: 18-6; National Ranking #60
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (5,3,2,1)