The UGA women’s tennis did it again. On Saturday, the Lady Bulldogs shut out South Carolina State 4-0 in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Championships and repeated that feat on Sunday, blanking NC State 4-0 to advance to the round of 16.
The doubles point lasted over an hour before Georgia captured the point with a tiebreaker on the deciding court. The Bulldogs (19-5) carried the momentum into singles as they won five first sets. Kennedy Shaffer and Ellen Perez picked up the first two singles wins, prior to Elena Christofi clinching the match on court two. The victory sends Georgia to the Round of 16 for the seventh year in a row.
“A big thanks to these great fans that came out and really gave us some inspiration at key times,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “That doubles was really close. We had some chances to finish and didn’t and then they had some chances and didn’t, but I felt that we really played well. Then singles we got off to a really good start, winning most of the first sets. Then NC State, like yesterday, started to battle back and we had to lift our games up again, which we were able to do. It is great to be in the Sweet 16 and we are looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”
NC State (20-11) obtained the early lead in doubles by winning on court No. 1, 6-4, despite Caroline Brinson and Perez challenging late. Court No. 3 was notched at 5-all when Georgia’s Marta Gonzalez and Mariana Gould broke the Wolfpack’s serve and then held serve to win 7-5, evening up the score.
The split decisions left court No. 2 as the decider with 38th-ranked Christofi and Shaffer battling Bianca Moldovan and Claudia Wiktorin. Christofi and Shaffer trailed 4-5, but fought back on serve to tie and broke NC State’s next serve to go up 6-5. After the Wolfpack forced a tiebreaker, Georgia raced out to a 4-0 lead, before eventually outlasting NC State with a 7-3 tiebreaker score.
In singles, 52nd-ranked Shaffer powered past Wiktorin 6-1, 6-2 on court No. 3. Nearly 20 minutes later, Perez, ranked 12th in ITA singles, finished off 86th-ranked Martina Frantova in a second set tiebreaker to win 6-0,7-6 (5) on court No. 1. Perez fell behind 1-4 to start the second set, before mounting her comeback that gave Georgia a commanding 3-0 lead.
The match clincher occurred on court No. 2 as Christofi, ranked 20th in ITA singles, defeated Anna Rogers 6-4, 7-5. Christofi was down 4-5 in the second set, before rallying off three straight games to secure the win.
“It was just awesome for me, both singles and doubles,” Christofi said. “They were both tough matches but I managed to get both wins in front of our home crowd. They were cheering for us and it was amazing. It was like they could give us energy and I loved every moment.”
For the final results from Sunday’s round two of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, CLICK HERE.
Next, the Bulldogs will face 12th-ranked Pepperdine in the third round, a team Georgia defeated earlier this season 4-1 at the ITA National Team Indoors. The match is scheduled for Friday, May 19th at 4:00 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
CLICK HERE for the complete bracket for the 2017 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships.