April 26, 2014
Big Ten Tournament Central
#1 Michigan 4, #4 Purdue 1
Top-seeded Michigan received a scare from Purdue in Saturday's first semifinal match indoors at Combe Tennis Center. The Boilermakers took an early lead after doubles play, but Michigan imposed its will during singles on the way to a 4-1 win. The Wolverines advance to the championship match on Sunday with the victory.
Purdue grabbed the doubles point from the Wolverines with a pair of upsets at Nos. 1 and 2. The Boilermakers' tandem of Mara Schmidt and Andjela Djokovic upset No. 17 Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender, 8-3. Purdue looked to have the point in hand with Krisztina Kapitany and Natalia Davila holding a commanding 6-2 lead at the No. 2 spot. Ronit Yurovsky and Laura Ucros mounted a furious comeback to force a tiebreaker. The Boilermakers held on, winning the tiebreak 9-7.
Michigan responded with four straight victories in singles play. Tenth-ranked Bektas eased to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Schmidt. Sarah Lee followed with an identical 6-1, 6-2 win over Nicole Robinson. The Wolverines' dominance continued with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 5 by Amy Zhu. Bolender capped the match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory at No. 4.
#2 Northwestern 4, #3 Ohio State 0
Northwestern will compete for its 16th-straight Big Ten title on Sunday after cruising past Ohio State, 4-0, in Saturday's semifinal match. The Wildcats survived a tough doubles round and quickly won three singles matches to ensure a date with Michigan in the tournament championship.
The doubles point was closely contested with all three matches coming down to the wire. Ohio State grabbed the first match with an 8-6 win by Gabriella De Santis and Sandy Niehaus, but the Wildcats scratched out the remaining two matches to win the first point. Brooke Rischbieth and Belinda Niu prevailed 8-7 after thoroughly dominating the tiebreaker set, 7-0. Veronica Corning and Alicia Barnett held on for an 8-6 win of their own to clinch doubles for NU.
Veronica Corning took down Big Ten Freshman of the Year Gabriella De Santis, 6-2, 6-1 to give the `Cats a 2-0 advantage. Belinda Niu followed that with a 6-2, 6-2 win of her own in the second singles spot, and Lok Sze Leung finished the match with a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 5.
Northwestern and Michigan will meet at noon Sunday to determine the Big Ten tournament champion.