W. Tennis Topples No. 6 Georgia Tech in Atlanta
By Alex Schwartz
ATLANTA – Facing its first top-10 opponent of the season, the University of Miami women’s tennis team posted a 4-3 road triumph over sixth-ranked Georgia Tech Wednesday evening at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
No. 31 Miami (8-3, 4-0 ACC) tallied its second top-20 victory in as many matches to extend its winning streak to six in a row. This was the Hurricanes’ first win over a top-10 team since downing second-ranked Ohio State, 4-2, on March 16, 2016.
“The poise we have been showing lately has been infectious,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “This is simply about tennis; we need to make moves, take chances and play aggressively, all while staying incredibly quiet and organized mentally. It wasn’t perfect today. We still need to improve, but it was enough, so we’ll take it.”
Georgia Tech (9-3, 3-1 ACC) got off to a fast start on each court in doubles, but the Hurricanes responded impressively.
Sophomore Dominika Paterova and freshman Ulyana Shirokova won the last four games against Nadia Gizdova and Johnnise Renaud to earn a 6-3 victory.
Facing a 2-5 deficit against the fourth-ranked duo of Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones, Miami sophomore Estela Perez-Somarriba and freshman Sofia Sewing won back-to-back games before falling, 4-6.
When that match came to a conclusion, senior Sinead Lohan and junior Ana Madcur had their third match point on the adjacent court and closed it out for a 6-4 win over Victoria Flores and Nami Otsuka.
Lohan and Madcur trailed, 2-0, before claiming four games in a row. Georgia Tech won two straight to tie it, but the Hurricanes took the final two, both at deuce point, to give Miami the doubles point.
“Doubles, of course, was huge,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I really don’t even know what happened at the start. We were just laying eggs everywhere, but then we hung around long enough to turn it.”
The Yellow Jackets took the lead by registering a pair of straight-set victories to open singles play. Jones downed Madcur, 6-4, 6-2, and Renaud beat No. 108 Lohan, 6-2, 7-5.
Junior Daniella Roldan logged her first dual match singles win as a Hurricane to even the score, recording a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Gizdova.
Shirokova, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Week, put the Hurricanes back in front with her second consecutive three-set victory, as she defeated Flores, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Just moments later, Otsuka tied the match at three by tallying a 3-6, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 win versus Sewing.
All focus then turned to court one, where the match would be decided in the top-25 showdown between No. 18 Perez-Somarriba, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, and No. 25 Hourigan.
Perez-Somarriba, a 2016-17 ITA All-American and NCAA Singles Championship semifinalist, won all three games after her match became the decider, collecting a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 result to give Miami the victory.
This marked the second time in the last four outings—both in a span of just 11 days—Perez-Somarriba clinched a 4-3 win by beating a top-25 opponent.
The Madrid native improved to 13-0 on the spring, including 5-0 against top-80 foes and 3-0 versus top-25 players. Additionally, she now has a 9-3 mark in her career against top-30 opponents.
“Estela told me after the match she dreamed of clinching today and there you have it,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I’ve learned over the years that when players deserve victories, they usually earn them—not always, but most of the time. As a coach, I have such a sense of calmness when that type of kid is deciding our clinching point. Estela is a special one and we’re really excited for what the future holds for her.”
The last time the Hurricanes beat a top-10 opponent away from home was Feb. 7, 2016, when they edged No. 10 Oklahoma State, 4-3, at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis.
Miami’s most recent top-10 road win and its last top-10 ACC victory both came on March 27, 2015, when it downed eighth-ranked Virginia, 5-2, in Charlottesville, Va.
Wednesday’s victory came exactly one year to the day of Miami’s 5-2 loss in Atlanta last season, its lone time falling to the Yellow Jackets in eight meetings since the start of the 2013 campaign.
“We put ourselves on the line today,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “Sofia and Sinead weren’t at 100 percent and they battled. Dani and Uly were so tough from start to finish.”
The Hurricanes will resume play Friday at 4 p.m., when they host top-ranked North Carolina at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
1. No. 4 Paige Hourigan/Kenya Jones (GT) def. Estela Perez-Somarriba/Sofia Sewing (UM), 6-4
2. Sinead Lohan/Ana Madcur (UM) def. Victoria Flores/Nami Otsuka (GT), 6-4
3. Dominika Paterova/Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. Nadia Gizdova/Johnnise Renaud (GT), 6-3
1. No. 18 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 25 Paige Hourigan (GT), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
2. Johnnise Renaud (GT) def. No. 108 Sinead Lohan (UM), 6-2, 7-5
3. Kenya Jones (GT) def. Ana Madcur (UM), 6-4, 6-2
4. Nami Otsuka (GT) def. Sofia Sewing (UM), 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2
5. Daniella Roldan (UM) def. Nadia Gizdova (GT), 6-4, 7-5
6. Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. Victoria Flores (GT), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2