Feb. 1, 2013
In what turned out to be a fight to the finish, the No. 59 Tulane women's tennis team received a gutty performance from freshman Ipek Birol, who overcame cramping and fought back from a 2-4 score in the third set to post a victory at No. 4 singles and clinch a 4-3 Conference USA win for the Green Wave over SMU this afternoon at the City Park Pepsi Center.
Tulane (2-1) took the doubles point, but SMU (1-1) came back to win three singles matches and the contest came down to Birol against Mustang freshman Yana Erkeeva. Birol lost the first set, 4-6, but battled back to take the second set with a convincing, 6-0, score. However, in the final set, the newcomer began cramping and quickly found herself down 2-4 with the match on the line. The precocious freshman dug in and fought back to win four straight points and claim the third set and the match point for the Wave.
"Today was the most amazing fight I have witnessed from our team in quite a while, Tulane head coach Terri Sisk said. "The attitude of never giving up was rampant and it proved to be the deciding factor in this match. The way our team handled adversity and momentum shift was just impressive. Today was a total team effort and I can't say enough how proud I am of them. SMU is a very solid team and will have a great year so this was definitely a quality win for us.
"Also, huge congrats to freshmen Ipek Birol for coming from behind 2-4 in the third set with the match tied at three-all and gutting out a victory while cramping."
Tulane began the day by claiming the all-important doubles point. Seniors Caroline Magnusson and Hila Elster teamed up to defeat SMU's Hristina Dishkova and Yana Erkeeva at the No. 3 spot, 8-2. Minutes later, the Wave secured the point following an, 8-5, victory at the second spot by senior Emma Levy and junior Jenny Hois over Edyta Cieplucha and Elena Fayner.
However, the Mustangs responded with three straight wins to not only avoid the shutout, but put the Green Wave on the ropes. SMU's Bulgakova topped Hois, 0-6, 6-0, 6-4, at No. 3 and Fayner got past Elster at No. 6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
The Ponies drew the match back to even with their win by Aleksandra Malyarchikova over Levy, 6-1, 0-6, 6-4, at the second position and set up Birol's remarkable comeback.
The Green Wave remains at home and returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 6 against instate rival LSU at the City Park Pepsi Center at 3:30 p.m. There is no charge for admission to the match.
(1) Klara Vyskocilova/Ipek Birol (TLN) vs. Aleksandra Malyarchikova/A. Bulgakova (SMU), DNF
(2) Emma Levy/Jenny Hois (TLN) def. Edyta Cieplucha/Elena Fayner (SMU), 8-5
(3) Caroline Magnusson/Hila Elster (TLN) def. Hristina Dishkova/Yana Erkeeva (SMU), 8-2
Order of finish: 3,2
(1) No. 118 Klara Vyskocilova (TLN) def. Edyta Cieplucha (SMU), 6-4, 6-2
(2) Aleksandra Malyarchikova (SMU) def. Emma Levy (TLN), 6-1, 0-6, 6-4
(3) A. Bulgakova (SMU) def. Jenny Hois (TLN), 0-6, 6-0, 6-4
(4) Ipek Birol (TLN) def. Yana Erkeeva (SMU), 4-6, 6-0, 6-4
(5) Caroline Magnusson (TLN) def. Hristina Dishkova (SMU), 6-3, 6-4
(6) Elena Fayner (SMU) def. Hila Elster (TLN), 7-6 (5), 6-4
Order of finish: 1,5,3,6,2,4