WTennis: Jokic, Carle Advance To Quarterfinals

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WTennis: Jokic, Carle Advance To Quarterfinals

Katarina Jokic
Katarina Jokic

For the second day in a row, sophomore Katarina Jokic won her singles match, and then joined freshman Lourdes Carle for a doubles win in the NCAA Individual Championships at the USTA National Campus.

Jokic became the 12th player in Georgia women’s tennis history to make it to the quarterfinal stage of the NCAA Singles Championship and the first since Kennedy Shaffer in 2016. Furthermore, she is only the fifth player to make it to the doubles quarterfinals in the same year.

The advancement in the NCAA Doubles Championships secures ITA Doubles All-America honors for both Carle and Jokic. Together, they have beaten eight ranked duos in the past 11 matches, and are the 14th all-time Georgia duo to reach the quarterfinals.

In singles, Jokic, an automatic ITA Singles All-American with the No. 2-seed, defeated the No. 13-ranked Kansas senior Anastasia Rychagova, 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-3, for her third win in the tournament. Next up, Jokic will face UCLA redshirt-junior Jada Hart, ranked No. 45, on Thursday with a time to be announced.

Lourdes Carle
Lourdes Carle

Approximately an hour after Jokic defeated the four-time First Team Big-12 Jayhawk, she was back on the court with Carle who together form the nation’s No. 28-ranked duo. The Bulldog twosome upset No. 2-seed Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham of UNC, 6-1, 6-3, for their second win of the tournament. Carle and Jokic will play Thursday with TBA against the winner of Michigan’s Minor/Fahey and UCLA’s Bolton/Hart.

“We had a lot of long points,” Jokic said. “I was trying to be aggressive, but she wasn’t letting me hit winners, because she was really fast, so that was the biggest challenge for me. I was playing really well in the first set, and she was making some errors. In the second set, she started playing better, leading to the tighter play.”

In the first set, Jokic held serve throughout and got breaks to go up 3-1, and 5-1 en route to taking it 6-1. The second set featured eight service breaks in the first 10 games, leading to a 5-all score. The last service games stayed with the server to head to the tiebreaker. Jokic trailed 1-3, 2-5, and 4-6, before knotting it at 6-all, but the ITA Central Regional Senior of the Year secured the last two points to force the third set.

Lourdes Carle and Katarina Jokic
Lourdes Carle and Katarina Jokic

Pressure came early in the third set with Rychagova threatening to break Jokic’s serve on deuce point, but the Bulldog was steadfast for the 1-0 lead. Instead, Jokic in turn broke Rychagove for the 2-0 lead. The Jayhawks tried to get the break back on deuce point in Jokic’s third service game, but again the Bulldog held and proceeded to break the Jayhawk in the following game for the 5-1 lead. Rychagova managed to get one break back, but Jokic wasn’t letting the lead waver. On match point, Jokic pinned the Jayhawk into the corner and then used a drop shot to seal win with a 6-3 third set.

In doubles, Carle and Jokic cruised in the first set, grabbing the first break on deuce point to make it 3-1. Another break gave them the 5-1 lead before serving out for the 6-1 first set. Again the Bulldogs obtained the first break in the second set at 2-1, but the Tar Heel duo broke back to square it at 3-all. It didn’t last long as Georgia immediately broke back and then won the last two games to secure the win.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.