March 1, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 1 Northwestern collected its sixth win this year against an opponent ranked in the top 15, defeating No. 12 North Carolina, 5-2, at the Combe Tennis Center on Sunday. After surrendering the doubles point for the first time all season, NU overwhelmed the Tar Heels in singles by winning five of six matches, taking all five in straight sets.
The Wildcats, who have now won at least five singles matches in exactly half their dual outings, knocked off North Carolina for the second straight season.
In doubles play, North Carolina's fourth-ranked tandem of Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand were first off the courts with an 8-4 win over No. 31 Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui. The match was square at three when the Tar Heels managed to break Rose's serve, but NU broke right back to even things at four. From there, however, it was all Carolina as UNC went on to win the next four games to take the match.
Samantha Murray and Elena Chernyakova bounced back from their first dual loss on Saturday by beating Meg Fanjoy and Laura Reichert at third doubles. With the match even at two, NU trailed by an Ad point but rebounded to break the serve and take a 3-2 advantage. Murray followed it up by serving for the next game without relinquishing a point, lifting NU to a two-game lead en route to an eventual 8-6 win.
Maria Mosolova and Keri Robison, ranked 18th in doubles, trailed 4-0 to start their second doubles match against Austin Smith and Katrina Tsang but rallied to pull within one at 4-3. After several deuce points in the eighth game, UNC managed to take a 5-3 lead and regain control. With the score 7-4 and the Tar Heels serving, NU brought it to deuce once again, this time managing to stay alive and get to within two.
Keri Robison served the ensuing game, winning the point with ace down the middle as NU closed the gap to 7-6. Tsang successfully served out the match, however, as NU dropped the doubles point for the first time all season.
But once the action moved into singles, the tables turned in favor of Northwestern. Nazlie Ghazal faced Jelena Durisic at No. 6 and pulled away late in the first set to win, 6-3. She came out strong in the second, breaking Duresic in the first game and holding on her end to take a 2-0 lead. Ahead 5-2, she capitalized on her chance to serve out the match and finished it off with an overhead smash, evening the team score at one.
At No. 3 singles, Murray had no problem winning her team-leading 22nd singles match this year, defeating No. 93 Sophie Grabinski 6-2, 6-3.
Mosolova, meanwhile, came back after her earlier doubles defeat to win convincingly against Marand, 6-3, 6-1. It marked her second defeat of Marand this season following a win at the Duals in the Desert tournament in November.
Lui coasted to a 6-2, 6-3 win at fourth singles against Austin Smith, upping her record to 21-9. In the second set, she jumped out to a 4-1 lead and held on for the victory, notching Northwestern's third team point.
After winning the first set at sixth singles, Robison fell behind 4-2 in the second before taking charge at 5-4. With Reichert serving to stay alive, Robison put the finishing touches on her win using a cross-court forehand that got past Reichert despite the Tar Heel's efforts to charge the net and cut down the angle.
Less than 24 hours after Rose endured a three-match set with two tiebreakers against Duke, Rose found herself locked in another extremely competitive match against Katrina Tsang, with the first three games lasting just over half an hour. After numerous deuce points, Tsang finally managed to break Rose and take a 2-1 lead in the first. But Rose soon responded, taking a 5-3 lead before Tsang notched another break to close within 5-4. Once in the tiebreaker, neither player could muster more than a one-point advantage until Tsang was able to earn the 7-5 advantage and one-set lead.
In the second, Rose went up a break in the first game and did not look back, coasting to a 6-1 set victory.
In place of a third set, Rose and Tsang squared off in a third-set match tiebreaker, where Tsang broke open a 3-3 tie to take an 8-2 lead. The NU senior rallied and brought the score to 9-7 but Tsang came up with the final point to prevent Northwestern's singles sweep.
Northwestern (9-1) is back in action on Wednesday when it begins its quest for an 11th consecutive Big Ten title, traveling to Wisconsin for a 4 p.m. contest against the Badgers.
No. 1 Northwestern 5, No. 12 North Carolina 2
No. 1: No. 1 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. No. 29 Sanaz Marand (UNC), 6-3, 6-1
No. 2: Katrina Tsang (UNC) def. No. 25 Georgia Rose (NU), 7-6 (5), 1-6, 1-0 (10-7)
No. 3: No. 43 Samantha Murray (NU) def. No. 93 Sophie Grabinski (UNC), 6-2, 6-3
No. 4: No. 83 Lauren Lui (NU) def. Austin Smith (UNC), 6-2, 6-3
No. 5: No. 99 Nazlie Ghazal (NU) def. Jelena Durisic (UNC), 6-3, 6-2
No. 6: Keri Robison (NU) def. Laura Reichert (UNC), 6-3, 6-4
No. 1: No. 4 Grabinski/Marand (UNC) def. No. 31 Lui/Rose (NU), 8-4
No. 2: Smith/Tsang (UNC) def. No. 18 Mosolova/Robison (NU),8-6
No. 3: Chernyakova/Murray (NU) def. Fanjoy/Reichert (UNC), 8-6
Order of finish:
Singles: (5, 3, 4, 1, 6, 2)
Doubles: (1, 3, 2)