W. Tennis Outlasts No. 20 Texas Tech, 4-0
By Kevin Ivany
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – In a match that was delayed twice for a total of five hours and 15 minutes, the University of Miami women’s tennis team dug deep to secure a 4-0 sweep over No. 20 Texas Tech Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
“Overall, we were very happy with the way the girls came out of the rain delay,” associate head coach Laura Vallverdu said. “We thought that the team was having a slow start in singles. Especially with Carla Girbau and Ana [Madcur] in the back, at five and six, turning that around and winning those second sets was big for us. They made a step forward today, for sure, in terms of toughness.”
No. 17 Miami (6-1) got off on the right foot by earning a tightly-contested doubles point. Madcur, a senior, and freshman Lucia Marzal earned a 6-4 triumph over Francesca Sella and Anto Stoica in the lone match not to reach a tiebreaker.
Playing together for the first time as Hurricanes, junior Estela Perez-Somarriba and sophomore Ulyana Shirokova won every point in their tiebreaker against No. 40 Felicity Maltby and Nell Miller. The 7-6 (7-0) decision clinched the opening point for Miami.
In the lone incomplete match, the Texas Tech (3-3) duo of Kennedy Bridgforth and Lana Rush, ranked No. 32, held a narrow 6-6 (4-2) edge over freshman Daevenia Achong and senior Daniella Roldan.
In singles action, the Hurricanes and Lady Raiders made it almost through all of the opening sets before play was halted for three hours and 30 minutes due to inclement weather.
Returning to the courts at 7:45 p.m., Miami quickly tripled its lead with a pair of key wins.
Shirokova cruised through the opening set against Sella, 6-0. Looking to force a third set, Sella was serving with a 5-4 advantage in the second. Winning the break to tie the match, the Ufa, Russia, native rattled off three consecutive games to seal the victory, 6-0, 7-5, and place the Hurricanes in front, 2-0.
In a top-30 affair, fourth-ranked Perez-Somarriba defeated No. 30 Maltby, 6-3, 6-3, to give Miami a commanding 3-0 lead. The reigning ACC Player of the Year captured all five second-set break points to seal the victory.
“How Stela was able to dominate, truly, a top-30 girl in the country right now, kind of early in the season, winning that in 6-3, 6-3 fashion, was special,” Vallverdu said. “We have been talking to her about this, about completing matches a little bit more solid, like that, and dominant. We are trying to do that as a team. We are trying to connect and close sets, not faster, but look a little bit more solid in the actual score. But it was a long day; they have been here since 8 o’clock this morning just thinking about this match. So, we are just happy.”
Entering the delay after dropping a 0-6 opening set against Stoica, Marzal regrouped and earned a 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph to clinch the match for the Hurricanes.
The remaining three matches remained unfinished, with Miami holding the advantage on all three courts.
Achong was in front, 3-6. 6-2, 4-3, against Miller, while Madcur looked to complete a comeback, holding a 5-7, 6-3, 2-0 lead over Rush. Girbau, a freshman, was up 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 2-0 in the other unfinished match.
“We are looking to just get tougher. We are a younger team, but they are starting to understand the culture, they’re understanding what it takes to win big matches and we have a focus on a bigger picture, which is other competition in the country,” Vallverdu said. “They are hungry and I believe that they are excited for ACC’s. They want to head up to Tallahassee, [Fla.], and make a statement.”
The Hurricanes resume play Feb. 24 at noon with their ACC opener on the road against the nation’s other co-No. 20 team, Florida State.
1. Estela Perez-Somarriba/Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. No. 40 Felicity Maltby/Nell Miller (TT), 7-6 (7-0)
2. No. 32 Kennedy Bridgforth/Lana Rush (TT) vs. Daevenia Achong/Daniella Roldan (UM), 6-6 (4-2), unf.
3. Ana Madcur/Lucia Marzal (UM) def. Francesca Sella/Anto Stoica (TT), 6-4
1. No. 4 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 30 Felicity Maltby (TT), 6-3, 6-3
2. Daevenia Achong (UM) vs. Nell Miller (TT), 3-6, 6-2, 4-3, unfinished
3. Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. Francesca Sella (TT), 6-0, 7-5
4. Lucia Marzal (UM) def. Anto Stoica (TT), 0-6, 6-4, 6-3
5. Carla Girbau (UM) vs. Kennedy Bridgforth (TT), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 2-0, unfinished
6. Ana Madcur (UM) vs. Lana Rush (TT), 5-7, 6-3, 2-0, unfinished