STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis squad remained undefeated on the young 2013 season Sunday after taking down No. 75 ranked Houston in a thrilling 4-3 decision.
After the teams battled to a 3-3 tie, Georgiana Patrasc for the Lady Bulldogs and Houston's Celia Fraser went head-to-head in the deciding match on court 2, with the almost the entire final set being played with no other matches on court. Patrasc took the first set 6-4. Fraser answered with the same result in the second set. The overall team win then came down to a grueling third set. The evenly matched opponents battled back and forth and were tied at 4-4 after Patrasc overcame an early break by Fraser. After Patrasc held serve to 5-4, she earned two match points and won the first on a big forehand that Fraser was unable to return. That clinched a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory and the MSU team win.
That stage was set for that fantastic finish after State took a 3-0 lead only to see Houston rally back to tie things at 3-3.
The Lady Bulldogs took the early 1-0 lead, taking the doubles point with wins on courts 1 and 3. Patrasc and Petra Ferancova paired up to post an 8-5 win on court 3 against Fraser and Maja Kazimieruk of Houston. Houston's Elena Kordolaimi and Jo Garvey responded with an 8-5 victory on court 2 against Lien Van Geel and Sarai Flores.
MSU's Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran, nationally ranked at No. 54, secured the doubles win by taking down Charlotte Phillips and Rocio Martin Fernandez of the Lady Cougars in an 8-5 decision and the No. 1 position.
Singles play began with two solid wins for the Lady Bulldogs. Perper was the first to claim a singles victory, defeating Houston's Kordolaimi 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 position. Flores then handed the Lady Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Dionne Sanders on court 6.
Houston charged back with three consecutive wins in some close decisions. Rocio Martin Fernandez posted a 7-5, 6-2 win against MSU's Tran at the No. 3 position. Houston's Phillips executed a tough 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory on court 4 against the MSU freshman Van Geel. Lady Cougar Kazimieruk tied the score at 3-all, winning a first-set tiebreaker against Ferancova to eventually take the match 7-6(5), 6-4 on court 5.
"We expected a battle today, and we got it. I am happy with the energy that the girls brought. They did a great job getting the doubles point, which proved to be critical. We did not play our best in singles, but the fighting spirit was always there. Our freshmen did a good job today which is important this early in the season," said head coach Daryl Greenan. "Georgiana's effort to win in three sets in the deciding match was huge!'
The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action as they host the Lady Privateers of the University of New Orleans Friday, Feb. 8, at 1:30 p.m. Updates for Lady Bulldog tennis can be found at hailstate.com or through Twitter (@mstateWT).
MISSISSIPPI STATE 4, #75 HOUSTON 3 February 3, 2012 - Starkville, Miss.
2. Elena Kazimieruk/Jo Garvey (USM) def. Lien Van Geel/Sarai Flores(MSU) 8-5
3. Georgiana Patrasc/Petra Ferancova(MSU) def. Maja Kazimieruk/Celia Fraser(UH) 8-5
1. Alexandra Perper (MSU) def. Elena Kordolaimi (UH) 6-2, 6-2
2. Georgiana Patrasc (MSU) def. Celia Fraser (UH) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
3. Rocio Martin (UH) def. Naomi Tran (MSU) 7-5, 6-2
4. Charlotte Phillips def. Lien Van Geel (MSU) (UH) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
5. Maja Kazimieruk (UH) def. Petra Ferancova (MSU) 7-6(5), 6-4
6. Sarai Flores (MSU) def. Dionne Sanders (UH) 6-3, 6-3Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1), Singles (1,6,3,4,5,2)