Feb. 11, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 19 Northwestern 7, Kentucky 0
Records: NU (4-3, 1-0 Big Ten), Kentucky (0-5, 0-0 SEC)
Next NU Event: National Indoor Team Championship Feb. 18-21 Charlottesville, Va.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Looking to bounce back from its edge-of-your-seat loss to No. 6 Duke last week, Northwestern was firing on all cylinders as it took down a pesky Kentucky squad, 7-0, Friday in Evanston. The hometown Wildcats improved to 4-3 on the season, with freshman Nida Hamilton ensuring the sweep by pulling out a dramatic third set tiebreak.
"I thought we had a good week of practice and preparation and really tonight was a chance for us to improve before we play some pretty good teams at Indoors next week," said head coach Claire Pollard. "We're going to need contributions from everybody on this team to succeed at that tournament. A few different individuals won some tight sets tonight so it's good to have that ability to finish tough."
Kentucky came to play right out of the gates, keeping Northwestern on their heels in the first half of doubles play. Action on the No. 1 and No. 3 courts was tightly contested in the early going, with both courts on serve at 4-4. However, NU was able to endure the initial pressure to come out with the doubles point.
At No. 3, senior Maria Mosolova and freshman Belinda Niu held serve to go up 5-4 before earning a key break to take a 6-4 lead, cruising the rest of the way to an 8-4 victory. The 30th-ranked duo of sophomore Linda Abu Mushrefova and freshman Nida Hamilton followed suit at No. 1 doubles, breaking to go up 5-4 on their way to an 8-4 win.
Junior Elena Chernyakova
and sophomore Brittany Wowchuk
got out to a quick 4-0 lead at No. 2 doubles, and held off their opponents to record an 8-3 victory.
Northwestern's most experienced competitor, senior and 52nd-ranked Maria Mosolova, got the Wildcats going in singles action with a dominating win at No. 1. After closing out the first set 6-2, Mosolova rolled to an easy 6-0 win in the second set to give NU a 2-0 lead.
No. 120 Kate Turvy, fresh after sitting out the doubles action, continued Northwestern's momentum at No. 4 with a convincing 6-1, 6-3 victory. This put the home team up 3-0 in the team score with competitive matches on all four remaining singles courts.
Both Brittany Wowchuk and Belinda Niu had their hands full early at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, however the pair was able to use some clutch shot-making to take their first sets 7-5. Niu stormed out to an early lead in her second set, capitalizing on an early break to secure the 7-5, 6-3 victory and the dual win for Northwestern. Ironically, Wowchuk finished off her second set in the same fashion with an identical 7-5, 6-3 win.
Linda Abu Mushrefova was in the midst of a back-and-forth first set at No. 6 when her opponent, Misha Testerman, was forced to call a trainer with Mushrefova serving at 5-6, 40-30. After waiting out the delay, Mushrefova was able to hold her serve and get out to a quick lead in the ensuing tiebreak. The NU sophomore used a great defensive point to close out the tiebreak, 7-2, and rode this momentum to a 6-0 second set victory.
The tightest match of the night came at No. 5 singles, where Nida Hamilton couldn't get anything going in the first set, eventually dropping it 6-2. However, she came out a different player in the second set, rolling to a 6-1 win. With the dual match already decided and both teams lining her court, Hamilton got down 5-3 in the third set but fought back to tie the match at five.
The freshman showed poise beyond her years, dropping her serve but breaking yet again with the match on the line to force a tiebreak. The pair traded points until they were tied 6-6, before a Hamilton forehand winner gave her the tiebreak, 8-6, to finish off a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6) win.
Next week, Northwestern will travel to the University of Virginia with the goal of defending its title as two-time ITA National Indoor Team champions. Draws and schedules for the tournament's main draw will be released later in the week.
No. 19 Northwestern 7, Kentucky 0
1: #52 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. Megan Broderick (UK), 6-2, 6-0
2: #66 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Jessica Stiles (UK), 7-5, 6-3
3: #76 Belinda Niu (NU) def. Khristina Blajkevitch (UK), 7-5, 6-3
4: #120 Kate Turvy (NU) def. Caitlin McGraw (UK), 6-1, 6-3
5: Nida Hamilton (NU) def. CeCe Witten (UK), 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6)
6: Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Misha Testerman (UK), 7-6 (2), 6-0
1: #30 Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton (NU) def. Broderick/Stiles (UK), 8-4
2: Chernyakova/Wowchuk (NU) def. Blajkevitch/Witten (UK), 8-3
3: Mosolova/Niu (NU) def. McGraw/Testerman (UK), 8-4
Order of Finish:
Singles (1, 4, 3*, 6, 2, 5)
Doubles (3, 1*, 2)
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