WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Katarina Jokic’s extraordinary season that included a plethora of accolades concluded Wednesday after Pepperdine’s Mayar Sherif Ahmed edged Jokic, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships.
The draw of No. 22-ranked Sheriff Ahmed, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, produced a back-and-forth battle that the senior Wave outlasted against the Georgia freshman. Sheriff Ahmed improved to 31-5 in singles, while Jokic finishes a team-best 31-8 in singles.
The first set consisted of seven straight service holds, and was later knotted at 5-all, before a deep lob by Jokic landed just out for Sheriff Ahmed to gain the 6-5 advantage. A flurry of contested shots at the net ended in Pepperdine’s favor in the next game for the first set.
Jokic, ranked 12th in ITA Singles, powered through set two, forcing a third set. The Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year broke both of Sheriff Ahmed’s first two serves to go up 4-0, and held throughout to even up sets.
A pinpointed slice that landed in for Jokic gave Georgia the first break, and then a hold on deuce point made it a 3-1 lead. After three more holds, Sheriff Ahmed got a crucial break on deuce point to even it at 4-all. For the third-straight point it boiled down to 40-all, but Jokic was unable to break Sherif Ahmed who held, and then got the match-clinching break in the following game.
The latest honor the native of Novi Grad, Bosnia received was ITA Southeast Regional Rookie of the Year on Monday. The award joins her previous accomplishments such as: SEC FOY, SEC First-Team, SEC All-Freshman Team, ITA National Team Indoor All-Tournament Team – No. 2 Doubles, and ITA Southeast Regional Singles Champion.
Although Jokic’s singles season comes to a close, she still is in competition in the doubles portion of the NCAA Championships. Jokic pairs with senior Mariana Gould will play Thursday against No. 27-ranked Vanessa Wong and Miki Kobayashi of Washington. Gould and Jokic are ranked 26th in ITA Doubles and hold a team-best 28-8 mark.
Also competing in doubles is Georgia’s 10th-ranked twosome of Elena Christofi and Morgan Coppoc. The match times will be announced later today.
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