Wolverines Blank Illinois-Chicago in NCAA First Round
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team claimed the doubles point and the first three singles matches off court to cruise to a 4-0 win against Illinois-Chicago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon (May 11) at the Varsity Tennis Center.
Michigan will now host No. 19 Texas A&M tomorrow (Saturday, May 12) in the second round of the NCAA Championships. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start. The Aggies defeated LSU, 4-1, in their first-round contest.
Senior Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) clinched the dual match from the No. 6 singles position, claiming a 6-3, 6-3 win against Kathryn Sharples to end the contest. Sulahian, who will appear in her final home competition tomorrow, took advantage of early breaks to take both sets and after giving up a late break in the second, broke again in the final game to close out the match.
Freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) and junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Milliken HS) preceded Sulahian in victory, cruising to straight-set decisions at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions, respectively, to extend their individual win streaks.
Bektas, ranked 12th, pushed her streak to six straight with a 6-2, 6-0 victory against Mariya Kovaleva at the top position. The Wolverine rookie broke immediately and built up a 4-1 advantage to win handily in the first set. She was even more dominant in a second-set shutout, earning breaks in the first, third and fifth games before serving out the match.
Nguyen defeated Haley Craig, 6-1, 6-3, at the No. 3 position for her third straight win. Nguyen battled back from an early break in the second set, evening the score at 2-2 before surging ahead. Craig held to 5-3 and fought off two match points before sending a backhand into the net to end the contest.
The Wolverines clinched the doubles point quickly, claiming lopsided wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) clinched the point from the top spot, extending their win streak to 12 straight with an 8-2 win against Kovaleva and Craig.
Following are match-by-match results:
No. 1 -- No. 12 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. Mariya Kovaleva (UIC), 6-2, 6-0
No. 2 -- No. 93 Brooke Bolender (U-M) vs. Teona Tsertsvadze (UIC), 6-3, 4-4 abandoned
No. 3 -- Mimi Nguyen (U-M) d. Haley Craig (UIC), 6-1, 6-3
No. 4 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) vs. Elisa Simonetti (UIC), 6-2, 3-6, 1-1 abandoned
No. 5 -- Kristen Dodge (U-M) vs. Jana Knoppe (UIC), 6-4, 2-1 abandoned
No. 6 -- Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Kathryn Sharples (UIC), 6-3, 6-3
No. 1 -- No. 11 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Mariya Kovaleva/Haley Craig (UIC), 8-2
No. 2 -- Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Teona Tsertsvadze/Elisa Simonetti (UIC), 8-1
No. 3 -- Kristen Dodge/Sarah Lee (UM) vs. Jana Knoppe/Linda Hricistova (UIC), 4-5 abandoned
Order of Completion: Doubles 2-1; Singles 1-3-6