LARAMIE, Wyo. – TCU’s women’s tennis team was unable to dig out of an early hole and fell to second-seeded Utah, 4-1, in the finals of the Mountain West Women’s Tennis Championship on Saturday afternoon at the UW Indoor Tennis Complex.
The Horned Frogs dropped to 13-11 overall and will await their fate when the field of 64 is unveiled Tuesday for the NCAA Tennis Championships. No. 55 Utah improved to 16-9 and will represent the MWC in the NCAA Championships.
“I thought we just got beat by a better team today,” TCU coach Dave Borelli said. “We got behind in the doubles and weren’t ever able to get any momentum. We needed to play really well in that altitude and we didn’t have out best today. That’s not to take anything away from these kids. They’re one of the most-improved groups I’ve ever coached.”
Utah clinched the doubles point to open the match after Lucia Kovarcikova and Sarah Pham grabbed an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles over TCU’s Idunn Hertzberg and Gaby Mastromarino. The Frog tandem led the match 6-5 before having their serve broken at 6-all. Kovarcikova and Pham held serve in the deciding game.
After getting bettered 8-2 at No. 1 doubles, TCU made things interesting with an 8-6 win of its own at No. 2 doubles. Federica Denti and Olivia Smith fell behind 3-5 to Utah’s Evgenia Kryuchkova and Lexi Provancha only to battle back for four-straight game wins.
The Frog duo was broken back tomake it 7-6 before returning the favor with a break of their own for the 8-6 triumph.
As singles got underway, Denti put TCU on the board for the only time Saturday when she took care of Utah’s Kovarcikova, 6-1, 6-1. The Bellano, Italy, native improved to 13-5 during the spring season. She jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set before putting it away two games later and tying the match at 2.
TCU would not stay ahead for long though, as Utah struck back with a straight-set win of its own at No. 3 singles. Pham took down Mastromarino, 6-2, 6-1 to make it 2-1 in favor of the higher-seeded Utes.
At No. 1 singles, Katariina Tuohimaa was bettered 6-2, 6-3 at the hands of Utah’s Anastasia Putilina, the MWC Player of the Year. In Tuohimaa’s bid to beat Putilina for the second time, the Ute controlled the match in the first set.
After a break chance went by the wayside for Tuohimaa in the second set, Putilina made it 3-1 on the scoreboard for the Utes when she held serve for the second-set win. Tuohimaa, a Helsinki, Finland, product, was 12-10 during the spring, including an 8-2 mark against conference opponents.
Kryuchkova provided the fourth point for the Utes at No. 2 singles when she won a lengthy match over TCU’s Smith. In the first set, Kryuchkova jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to see Smith battle back to take a 5-3 lead. The Utah player was able to force a tiebreak and win the first set 7-6 (8).
In the second set, Kryuchkova took control with the set tied at 2 and was able to win the next four games to clinch the championship for Utah.
#2 Utah 4, #4 TCU 1
UW Indoor Tennis Complex – Laramie, Wyo.
April 30, 2011
No. 1 – Anastasia Putilina (UU) def. Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU), 6-2, 6-3
No. 2 – Evgenia Kryuchkova (UU) def. Olivia Smith (TCU), 7-6 (8), 6-2
No. 3 – Sarah Pham (UU) def. Gaby Mastromarino (TCU), 6-2, 6-1
No. 4 – Federica Denti (TCU) def. Lucia Kovarcikova (UU), 6-1, 6-1
No. 5 – Paige Miles (UU) vs. Idunn Hertzberg (TCU), 6-0, unfinished
No. 6 – Lexi Provancha (UU) vs. Shalini Sahoo (TCU), 6-5, unfinished
No. 1 – #89 Paige Miles/Anastasia Putilina (UU) def. Maria Babanova/Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU), 8-2
No. 2 – Federica Denti/Olivia Smith (TCU) def. Evgenia Kryuchkova/Lexi Provancha (UU), 8-6
No. 3 – Lucia Kovarcikova/Sarah Pham (UU) def. Idunn Hertzberg/Gaby Mastromarino (TCU), 8-6
#2 Utah (16-9, 7-1 MWC); National ranking #55
#4 TCU (13-11, 5-3 MWC); National ranking #71
Order of Finish: Singles (4,3,1,2) Doubles (1,2,3)
Match played indoors due to weather
Mountain West Women’s Tennis Championship Finals