Sept. 24, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Exactly seven days after opening the 2010 season with a head-turning performance, the Tulane University women's tennis team was up to its old tricks during the opening day of the Roberta Alison Fall Classic on Friday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium.
The Green Wave went 14-6 for the day, eight Tulane singles players advance to the semifinals of their respective draws, and the combination of junior Mariam Kurdadze and Emma Levy posted a pair of doubles wins to earn a spot in the Wimbledon Draw championship match.
"It's really fun to watch the girls right now," Tulane head women's tennis coach Terri Sisk said. "One of the reasons is because you can finally see the light bulb being turned on. They're finally grasping and understanding what we talk about so much in practice. I've always told then that winning will take care of itself if you really keep plugging away at that common goal. They've done such a good job.
"We knew this weekend was going to be tougher than last weekend. We knew it was going to be in the mid-90s here in Tuscaloosa. We knew there were going to be some really tough teams - they have some real power houses in the tournament. The girls came flying out of the gate and did a good job of controlling momentum all day."
The tandem of Kurdadze and Levy got things going well for Tulane early on with consecutive doubles wins as the pair defeated Baylor's Karolina Filipiak and Cristina Danaila in the opening round before downing Alex Clay and Taylor Lindsey of Alabama in the semifinals. The duo's win over Clay and Taylor was an impressive one as the Crimson Tide duo was the tournament's highest-seeded doubles team and once held a 4-1 advantage over their Tulane counterparts.
and Hila Elster
combined to defeat UAB's Jenny Cape and Menanteau Moolman in the first round of the U.S. Open Draw, 8-1, but fell in the semifinals to Jessica Stiles and Marni Venter of Kentucky, 9-7.
The Green Wave had two doubles teams in the Australian Open Draw where juniors Marcela Fonseca and Caroline Gerber defeated Kentucky's Caitlin McGraw and Misha Testerman in the first round, 9-7, before falling to Samford's Madeline Van Rensburg and Jessica Diamond in the semis, 8-6. Lindsay Dvorak and Katherine Cecil dropped their opening-round match to Tiffany Welcher and Meritt Emery of Alabama, 8-3, and earned a walk-over win due to injury over Memphis' Kelly Gray and Sarah Witkowski in the consolation round.
In the French Open Doubles Draw - the only draw to play round-robin as opposed to a championship draw - juniors Jessica Lange and Sharon Siegel dropped their first-round match to Samford's Kristin Lewis and Emily Mallory, 8-5, but bounced back to defeat Tennessee-Martin's Michelle Elkin and Katie McCall, 8-1.
"The doubles were phenomenal," Sisk said. "I've seen Mariam and Emma play some high-level doubles, but today was a total team effort against the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The team from Alabama is already in the qualifying rounds of the All-American. It was probably the best doubles I've ever seen from my team. Mariam is always doing a great job and Emma backed her up.
"We talked about the first time we came to the Roberta Alison (in Fall 2008). It was our first tournament and we didn't have a very good showing. You could tell they were all young and freshmen. But wow, what a turnaround. We actually are setting the tone in doubles. We have been in total control, which is something we've really talked about. They're doing a good job with it. Two years later, they're all juniors now and this is something you want to see. I can't keep saying this enough, but it was a total team effort today."
The Green Wave's success carried over into singles play where Kurdadze posted back-to-back 6-2 wins over Taylor Morgan of Samford in the Serena Williams Draw and Levy posted an identical score over Tennessee-Martin's Jodie Ely in the Venus Williams Draw.
Dvorak defeated Johanie Van Zyl of Tennessee-Martin 6-2, 6-1 in the Maria Sharapova Draw and Elster downed Mississippi State's Vivian Pietraroia 6-3, 6-1 in the Lindsay Davenport Draw. Fonseca and Cecil both tallied singles wins in the Monica Seles Draw, defeating Memphis' Sarah Witkowski in a walkover due to injury and Tennessee-Martin's Ivon Simic 6-4, 6-0, respectively.
Lange sandwiched 6-3 and 6-0 wins around a 7-5 defeat to claim a three-set victory over UAB's Rachel Cohen in the Chris Evert Draw, and Siegel posted the Wave's final singles win with a 6-1, 6-0 decision over Katie McCall of Tennessee-Martin in the Billie Jean King Draw.
The Roberta Alison Fall Classic is slated to continue on Saturday with the final round of doubles play beginning at 9 a.m., and the second round of singles is scheduled to begin shortly after the conclusion of pairs play. Inclement weather forecast for the area on Sunday, however, may force the participating teams to play out the rest of the tournament tomorrow. That decision will be made prior to the start of play on Saturday.
"This is what we talk about all the time - tough conditions that you're not in control of," Sisk said. "It's how you deal with it and how you respond to it. Playing to singles and a doubles will be tough. But it's going to be tough for everybody. It's not just going to affect Tulane. It's going to affect everybody out there. Everybody will have the same conditions and it's all about how you react to them.
"Do I think they're in shape? Absolutely. We're in great shape and they fought the elements well today. We didn't have that much cramping. The best part is the attitude is good. You can look at it as, `Hey, it's going to be a really long day,' or `Hey, we're going to get to leave early.' I think they'll be fine either way. It's a learning experience either way, so we'll be fine."
Following the conclusion of the Alison Classic, the Green Wave return to action 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.
DAY ONE RESULTS FROM THE ROBERTA ALISON FALL CLASSIC
Serena Williams Draw
Mariam Kurdadze (Tulane) def. Taylor Morgan (Samford) - 6-2, 6-2
Venus Williams Draw
Emma Levy (Tulane) def. Jodie Tiley (Tennessee-Martin) - 6-2, 6-2
Caroline Wozniaki Draw
Kristina Blajkevitch (Kentucky) def. Elizabeth Hamlin (Tulane) - 6-0, 6-3
Maria Sharapova Draw
Lindsay Dvorak (Tulane) def. Johanie Van Zyl (Tennessee-Martin) - 6-2, 6-1
Lindsay Davenport Draw
Hila Elster (Tulane) def. Vivian Pietraroia (Mississippi State) - 6-3, 6-1
Monica Seles Draw
Marcela Fonseca (Tulane) def. Sarah Witkowski (Memphis) - WO, Inj.
Katherine Cecil (Tulane) def. Ivon Simic (Tennessee-Martin) - 6-4, 6-0
Chris Evert Draw
Jessica Lange (Tulane) def. Rachel Cohen (UAB) - 6-3, 5-7, 6-0
Jessica Diamond (Samford) def. Caroline Gerber (Tulane) - 6-2, 2-6, 6-0
Billie Jean King Draw
Sharon Siegel (Tulane) def. Katie McCall (Tennessee-Martin) - 6-1, 6-0
1st Round: Mariam Kurdadze / Emma Levy (Tulane) def. Karolina Filipiak / Cristina Danaila (Baylor) - 8-2
2nd Round: Mariam Kurdadze / Emma Levy (Tulane) def. Alex Clay / Taylor Lindsey (Alabama) - 8-6
U.S. Open Draw
1st Round: Elizabeth Hamlin / Hila Elster (Tulane) def. Jenny Cape / Menanteau Moolman (UAB) - 8-1
2nd Round: Jessica Stiles / Marni Venter (Kentucky) def. Elizabeth Hamlin / Hila Elster (Tulane) - 9-7
Australian Open Draw
1st Round: Marcela Fonseca / Caroline Gerber (Tulane) def. Caitlin McGraw / Misha Testerman (Kentucky) - 9-7
1st Round: Tiffany Welcher / Meritt Emery (Alabama) def. Lindsay Dvorak / Katherine Cecil (Tulane) - 8-3
2nd Round: Madeline Van Rensburg / Jessica Diamond (Samford) def. Marcela Fonseca / Caroline Gerber (Tulane) - 8-6
Consolation Round: Lindsay Dvorak / Katherine Cecil (Tulane) def. Kelly Gray / Sarah Witkowski (Memphis) - WO, Inj.
French Open Draw
1st Round: Kristin Lewis / Emily Mallory (Samford) def. Sharon Siegel / Jessica Lange (Tulane) - 8-5
2nd Round: Sharon Siegel / Jessica Lange (Tulane) def. Michelle Elkin / Katie McCall (Tennessee-Martin) - 8-1