WKU Tennis completes comeback to win first match of 2023 season

WKU Tennis began its 2023 campaign with a 4-3 comeback victory at Bellarmine on Saturday night.
WKU Tennis began its 2023 campaign with a 4-3 comeback victory at Bellarmine on Saturday night.(Western Kentucky University)
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 9:17 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Tennis began its 2023 campaign with a 4-3 comeback victory at Bellarmine on Saturday night. The Lady Toppers improved to 9-0 all-time against the Knights, including wins in three straight seasons.

WKU fell behind early, losing the doubles point. The No. 1 pair of Paola Cortez and Sayda Hernandez were the first to finish in Louisville, losing 6-3 to the top doubles team at Bellarmine. In the No. 2 spot, Sofia Blanco and Samantha Martinez also came up short, losing by a score of 6-3, as well.

Down 1-0 after doubles, the Lady Toppers had some ground to make up in singles and they did just that.

Sayda Hernandez got WKU on the board with a 6-4, 6-2 win at the No. 2 position after the squad fell behind 2-0, losing at the No. 3 spot. Bellarmine then responded, winning at the No. 1 to take a commanding 3-1 lead going into the final three matches of the day.

The bottom of the Lady Toppers’ lineup showcased its depth, as the No. 4, 5 and 6 singles results all went to the Lady Toppers. Rachel Hermanova and Sunskrithi Damera each posted straight-set wins to tie the match at 3-3, making the winner of the No. 6 spot decide the match. The sophomore Zegada secured the win for WKU winning in a thrilling three-set match 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

“Big win after getting in a hole 3-1,” head coach Greg Davis said. “Bellarmine really had a great deal of momentum, but Sayda got a big one at two. Our 4-5-6 singles finished it for the victory. I am very proud of the team winning a tough one on the road.”

The Lady Toppers are back in action next weekend in starting with a doubleheader in Bowling Green against UT Chattanooga and Eastern Kentucky on Friday, January 20. They head to Clarksville on Saturday, January 21 for a road matchup with the Austin Peay Governors.

WKU and Chattanooga will begin play on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Michael O. Buchanon Tennis Facility.

Final Results

Singles (Order of finish: 3,2,1,4,5,6)

1: Ekaterina Tikhonko (BELL) def. Paola Cortez (WKU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-0

2: Sayda Hernandez (WKU) def. Lailaa Bashir (BELL) 6-4, 6-2

3: Vendula Kryslova (BELL) def. Sofia Blanco (WKU) 6-1, 6-3

4: Rachel Hermanova (WKU) def. Cydney Rogers (BELL) 6-2, 6-4

5: Sunskrithi Damera (WKU) def. Hanley Riner (BELL) 6-3, 7-5

6: Mariana Zegada (WKU) def. Shu Grosso (BELL) 6-2, 1-6, 6-4

Doubles (Order of finish 1,2)

1: Krysloa/Tikhonko (BELL) def. Cortez/Hernandez (WKU) 6-3

2: Bashir/Rogers (BELL) vs. Blanco/Martinez (WKU) 6-3

3: Riner/Varnum (BELL) vs. Hermanova/Zegada (WKU) 5-2, unfinished