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Perez-Somarriba Tops No. 4 Daavettila of No. 3 UNC

CORAL GABLES, Fla.  Estela Perez-Somarriba of the University of Miami women’s tennis team knocked off a top-five player in the nation Friday evening, but it was not enough against third-ranked North Carolina.

No. 29 Miami dropped a 6-1 decision to the Tar Heels, despite the freshman from Madrid taking down fourth-ranked Sara Daavettila at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

“We’ve been saying all year that we’ve got a little superstar there who we’re developing and she has transitioned to college tennis so well,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “It was just nice to see that she had a little moment out there. She needed that for so many reasons. Credit to UNC’s player—she’s a great player—but today, Estela was just the tougher one. The future is going to be very bright for [Perez-Somarriba], so it’s going to be fun.”

The nation’s top-ranked doubles duo, Jessie Aney and Hayley Carter, opened the day by registering a 6-0 victory against redshirt senior Maci Epstein and junior Sinead Lohan. Alexa Graham and Cassandra Vazquez then clinched the point for North Carolina (17-1, 4-0 ACC) with a 6-3 triumph over junior Silvia Fuentes and freshman Maci Epstein.

When play was halted, sophomore Ana Madcur and Perez-Somarriba held a 5-2 lead versus Daavettila and Rachael James-Baker.

To open singles, No. 24 Aney doubled the Tar Heels’ edge when Epstein was forced to retire early in the second set. No. 78 Makenna Jones then made it 3-0 in favor of North Carolina by posting a 6-4, 6-2 win against Paterova.

Perez-Somarriba then got Miami (4-6, 3-2 ACC) on the board with her scintillating victory over Daavettila in a showdown of two of the nation’s top freshmen. After dropping the first set, Perez-Somarriba won 12 of the final 13 games, including 10 in a row, to earn a 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 triumph.

Entering the match, Daavettila was 31-4 in 2016-17, including 11-1 in dual match play and 21-2 over her last 23 matches. For Perez-Somarriba, who is now 17-5 in singles as a collegian, this marked the second ranked win of her career, including the first over a top-10 opponent.

Second-ranked Carter clinched the match by defeating seventh-ranked Lohan in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Singles Championship Final Four. Carter won the final three games of the contest to register a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

“Sinead [playing against] Hayley is always a competitive battle,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “Hayley is just able to play longer, stronger points for a longer portion of the match. That is where Sinead needs to work on some things.”

The final two matches, both of which were already in a decisive third set, were played out to conclude the evening.

No. 33 Alexa Graham notched a 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 win against Madcur and Chloe Oullet-Pizer narrowly edged Fuentes, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

“At four, [Ana] played a tough match. I think, at six, [Silvia] played a tough match. I think the girls competed hard,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “UNC is just a little bit better than us in some spots, but I don’t think our girls have anything to hang their heads about. We can’t hang our heads. We’ve got another match on Sunday right around the corner. We’ve got to get ready to go.”

The Hurricanes will be back in action on their home court Sunday at noon when they take on No. 18 Duke.

To keep up with the University of Miami women’s tennis team on social media, follow @CanesWTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

RESULTS

Doubles Competition
1. No. 1 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (NC) def. Maci Epstein/Sinead Lohan (UM), 6-0
2. Alexa Graham/Cassandra Vazquez (NC) def. Silvia Fuentes/Dominika Paterova (UM), 6-3
3. Ana Madcur/Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) vs. Sara Daavettila/Rachael James-Baker (NC), 5-2, unfinished

Singles Competition
1. No. 2 Hayley Carter (NC) def. No. 7 Sinead Lohan (UM), 6-4, 7-5
2. No. 66 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 4 Sara Daavettila (NC), 3-6, 6-0, 6-1
3. No. 24 Jessie Aney (NC) def. Maci Epstein (UM), 6-3, 2-0, ret.
4. No. 33 Alexa Graham (NC) def. Ana Madcur (UM), 6-0, 4-6, 6-0
5. No. 78 Makenna Jones (NC) def. Dominika Paterova (UM), 6-4, 6-2
6. Chloe Oullet-Pizer (NC) def. Silvia Fuentes (UM), 6-4, 2-6, 7-5