Oct. 2, 2010
WESTWOOD, Calif. - Two thirds of the way through opening day of the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championship, it appeared as if the Tulane University tennis duo of Mariam Kurdadze and Emma Levy's stint in the prestigious event would be a short one.
Down 6-2 in prequalifying doubles action against Georgia's Alina Jerjomina and Alex Anghelescu, the Green Wave tandem rattled off six straight points to post an 8-6 win Saturday afternoon at UCLA's L.A. Tennis Center. With the win, Kurdadze and Levy advance to the second round and still have a chance to advance to the qualifying rounds, which are slated to run from Oct. 5-6 in Riviera, Calif.
"We looked really tight and nervous when playing on such a big stage, and then they did what they do best," Tulane head women's tennis coach Terri Sisk said of her doubles team. "They stayed aggressive, stayed intense and they adjusted well. They truly did a remarkable job of settling down and using their game style to their advantage. After it got to 5-6, I just felt in my gut that we were going to win this due to Mariam and Emma looking like themselves and not so nervous.
"It can be a bit overwhelming when you look on the scoreboard and you see former national champions and year-to-year powerhouse programs. I'm just very proud of their effort level and the way they represented themselves and Tulane. We are very much looking forward to playing Florida tomorrow and continuing to showcase our talents."
Kurdadze and Levy will now battle Florida doubles team of Caroline Hitamana and Alexandra Cercone - which defeated UCLA's Carling Seguso and Maya Johansson 9-7 in the opening pre-qualifying round - on Sunday at 11 a.m. If the Green Wave pair win that contest, it will play the winner of the Saana Bhamri and Sandhya Nagaraj of North Carolina State vs. Shahzoda Hatamova and Edyta Ciepulcha of SMU at 4:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American qualifiers.
"They both did a really good job," Sisk said of the team's singles matches. "UCLA and Virginia both have very solid programs. We knew both matches were going to be a battle considering the All-American Tournament is one of the nation's premier collegiate tennis events. I told the girls there will not be any matches that you'll coast through. From a fighting standpoint and an effort level, we were 100 percent. They just did a few things better than we did. Overall, today was a great day for Tulane."
The Green Wave return to full-team competition on Friday, Oct. 8, when they open play in the Rice Classic in Houston. The Rice Classic is the third of five fall tournaments on the Tulane schedule as the team is also slated to play in the ITA Regional Championship from Oct. 22-24 in Birmingham, Ala., and the Lakewood Ranch Clay Court Classic on Nov. 12-14 in Tampa, Fla.