The No. 3 UGA women’s tennis team notched their fifth win in a row, defeating No. 28 Ole Miss on Friday 4-2 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Bulldogs (12-3, 6-1 SEC) captured the doubles point for the sixth-straight match then won the first two singles matches to go up a commanding 3-0. The Rebels (11-6, 2-4) fought back to make it 3-2 but less than a minute after the fourth match ended Shaffer sealed it on court three.
“Looking at Ole Miss’ record, they have had great wins and we felt like it was going to be a battle and it was,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “We talk to our players about it every time we step out for a match in this conference. We are going to be playing some great, great players and we just have to be ready. It was an exciting doubles point and it was great to get on the board.”
After exchanging the first two sets, Shaffer, of Rossford, Ohio, raced out to a 3-0 advantage in the third set but Ole Miss senior Zalina Khairudinova rallied off four straight games to go ahead. In the next game, Shaffer, ranked 27th in ITA singles, hit a cross-court winner to tie it, then finished off Khairudinova the rest of the way to win 6-4.
Junior Mariana Gould, No. 102, was the first to finish in singles play as she defeated Rebels’ freshman Alexa Bortles 6-1, 6-4 on court six. Freshman Elena Christofi, ranked 8th, followed with a 6-3,6-4 victory over No. 82 Natalie Suk on the second court. The fifth-straight win gives Christofi 10 victories over ranked players.
The Rebels got on the scoreboard at No. 4 as Anna Vrbenska came back from losing the first set to taking the final two to beat senior Caroline Brinson. On the first court, senior Ellen Perez fell in the first set, rebounded in the second but lost in a close final set, 4-6, to Ole Miss’ top player Arianne Hartono (#71).
It was then moments later that Shaffer finished it, however in the last match freshman Marta Gonzalez was trailing 5-6 in the second after losing the first set in a tiebreaker.
For the fifth-consecutive match, the 28th-ranked duo of Christofi and Shaffer clinched the doubles point on court two. The Rebels won on court three first but No. 18 Perez/Brinson answered by dispatching Hartono/ Bortles 6-3 on the first court. The Bulldogs’ Christofi and Shaffer finished off Suk/Vrbenska 6-3 as well to improve to 10-2 overall.
Georgia continues its homestand against No. 25 Mississippi State Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Mississippi State is another great team that’s going to come in here and play us,” Wallace added. “We are ready for another battle and we are working on some things that we want to do in a certain way so that’s where my focus is. We know that every time we play, like I’ve said, in this conference it is going to be an amazing match so we have to do things that are important for us to be successful.”
Live scoring will be available through the links at the top of the page. Be sure to follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (@UGAWomensTennis) for in-match updates. The match recap will be available at georgiadogs.com.
#71 Arianne Hartono (OM) def. #26 Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
#8 Elena Christofi (UGA) def. #82 Natalie Suk (OM) 6-3, 6-4
#57 Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. Zalina Khairudinova (OM) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Anna Vrbenska (OM) def. #59 Caroline Brinson (UGA) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Marta Gonzalez (UGA) vs. Tea Jandric (OM) 6-7 (6-8), 5-6, unfinished
#102 Mariana Gould (UGA) def. Alexa Bortles (OM) 6-1, 6-4
#18 Caroline Brinson/Ellen Perez (UGA) def. Alexa Bortles/Arianne Hartono (OM) 6-3
#28 Elena Christofi/Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. Anna Vrbenska/Natalie Suk (OM) 6-3
Tea Jandric/Zalina Khairudinova (OM) def. #68 Marta Gonzalez/Mariana Gould (UGA) 6-2
#3 Georgia defeats #28 Ole Miss 4-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,2,1,4,3)
Official: Karen Badger-Mabry T-3:02 A-260
UGA rankings: ITA #3, USTA #T6