May 26, 2005
ATHENS, Ga. -
Audra Cohen hit the historic 50-win mark Thursday by defeating TCU's Story Tweedie-Yates 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championships. Now at 50-6 overall this year, Cohen joins an elite group of players to reach the half-century milestone since 1988.
NCAA Division I Women's Tennis 50-Win Club
1) Keri Phebus, UCLA - 55 (1994-95)
2) Julie Exum, Duke - 52 (1990-91)
3) Vanessa Webb, Duke - 51 (1995-96) *
T-4) Dawn Buth, Florida - 50 (1994-95) *
T-4) Nataly Cahana, Old Dominion - 50 (2000-01) *
T-4) Audra Cohen, Northwestern - 50 (2004-05) *
T-4) Debbie Graham, Stanford - 50 (1988-89)
T-4) Lisa Raymond, Florida - 50 (1994-95) *
Cohen is the fifth freshmen and eighth player overall to notch 50 wins in a season since 1988 (the last reduction in playing dates occurred in the late 1980's. Before then, teams were allowed to play more matches per NCAA rules).
Her win Thursday also snapped Story Tweedie-Yates's winning streak of 21 straight matches.
After battling serious back spasms yesterday, Cohen looked fresh against Tweedie-Yates, showing no signs injury. She got off to a great start by winning the first two games, both of which involved deuce points.
But Tweedie-Yates fired back by winning the next four games. The Horned Frog started to utilize a precise service game, peppering the middle line with first serves and throwing Cohen a bit off balance.
The TCU player's return game kicked in too, as she broke Cohen in the fourth and again in the sixth game to go up 4-2. Then Cohen evened the break points back up in the seventh game, narrowing the gap to 4-3.
The eighth game proved to be the turning point of the first set. Both players endured four deuces, while Cohen fought off five break points. But on the sixth, Tweedie-Yates broke Cohen for the third time to take a commanding 5-3 lead. The Horned Frog then served to close out the set 6-3.
In the second set, each player held serve for the first four games, bringing the score to 2-2. Tweedie-Yates then pushed ahead by breaking Cohen and holding serve to get the set to 4-2 in her favor. During those two games, Cohen was noticeably less audible and it almost seemed as if she had resigned herself to a quarterfinal finish. Tweedie-Yates wasn't so lucky. Cohen came roaring back in the seventh game to hold serve.
"At about the end of the first, middle of the second set I lost it a little bit," Cohen said. "But once I got my focus back I got my momentum back as well and had the advantage."
In the eighth game, Tweedie-Yates took the serve, but missed a golden opportunity to further her upset bid. Cohen broke her in what would prove to be the turning point of the match, tying the score at 4-4
The Wildcat took the next game and later broke Tweedie-Yates for the fourth time to even the sets at one a piece.
In the third set, Cohen hit another gear -- just as she did yesterday against Georgia Tech's Kristi Miller when she poured in a perfect, 6-0 final frame. She opened with a 3-0 lead. Tweedie-Yates desperately tried to stay afloat by holding serve in the fourth, sixth, and eighth games, but it wasn't enough. Cohen went on to win the set 6-3.
Cohen will face UCLA's Riza Zalameda at 10 a.m. CT Friday, May 27 for the right to play for the NCAA Singles Title on Saturday. The two have yet to face each other in singles this year, but did play one another in doubles back in the fall. Cohen played against and with Zalameda as a doubles team in junior tennis.
"I'm looking forward to playing her, as I'm sure she is to play me," Cohen said. "We played doubles together in juniors, so we know each other really well. It'll be fun."
Youth has run rampant throughout this year's singles draw, as three out of the four semifinalists (including Zalameda and Cohen) are freshmen.
Live scoring and daily results are available at UGA's tournament website and the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship page .
2005 NCAA Singles Championships Quarterfinal Results
#3 Audra Cohen (NU) def. Story Tweedie-Yates (TCU), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Cohen's Semifinal Match
vs. Riza Zalameda (UCLA) @ 10 a.m. CT Friday, May 27
** NCAA SINGLES NOTES **
Audra Cohen and UCLA's Riza Zalameda were doubles partners
during their junior tennis days. In fact, they teamed up to capture the
USTA's Girls' 18 Super National Double Title in 2004, a victory which earned them a wildcard entry in the U.S. Open. There, Cohen and Zalameda advanced to the second round after a "walkover" victory over their first-round opponents, eighth-seeded Anastasia Myskina and Vera Zvonareva of Russia. In the second round, Cohen and Zalameda dropped a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 loss to Americans Jennifer Hopkins and Mashona Washington.
Three of four players who have advanced to the semifinals are freshmen -- a first since 1997. Audra Cohen, Zuzana Zemenova and Riza Zalameda are in their first year of collegiate tennis, while Florida's Jennifer Magley is a junior. The last time three freshmen reached the singles semifinals was 1997, when Lilia Osterloh of Stanford, M.C. White of Florida and Karin Miller of Duke all did so. Osterloh topped White, 6-1, 6-1, to capture the singles crown, which also represented the last all-freshman finale.
Jennifer Magley becomes the first Florida Gator to reach the NCAA semifinals in three years. In 2002, Jessica Lehnhoff advanced to the championship match before falling to Bea Bielik of Wake Forest. Aibika Kalsarieva equaled her quarterfinal showing in the 2004 singles draw, which also represents the best finish ever by a Kentucky player. Magley avenged a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Kalsarieva on March 13 in Lexington.
Riza Zalameda becomes the first UCLA player to reach the NCAA singles semifinals since 1995 when Keri Phebus captured both the singles and doubles championships. Zalameda avenged a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Clemson's Julie Coin in February ITA/National Team Indoor Championships. Coin, who was a singles semifinalist at last year's NCAAs, finishes the year with a 38-5 record in singles. Coin's 38 victories rank fifth all-time in Clemson history, while her 101 career victories ties for sixth all-time in Tiger annals.
Baylor's Zuzana Zemenova defeated Marianna Yuferova of VCU to earn her way into the semifinals of the NCAA singles draw. She has won 24 of her last 26 outings, including straight-set victories in 20 of those matches. Baylor had never even had a player reach the quarterfinals of the singles tournament before Zemenova made her way into that round on Wednesday afternoon. She has a season singles record of 27-5, which ties for 10th most wins in Baylor history. She earned one tournament crown during her freshman season at the Ballantrae Challenger in Birmingham, Ala., in mid-October.