Jan. 29, 2009

Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

ATLANTA – All-Americans Fani Chifchieva and Alex Haney provided wins for the No. 27 Auburn (0-1, 0-0 SEC) women’s tennis team, but it was not enough as eighth-ranked Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC) defeated the Tigers, 5-2, Wednesday at the Bill Moore Tennis Center. 

“We showed some nervousness in the doubles that put us in a hole early on each court,” head women’s tennis coach Tim Gray said. “We cannot do that against teams of Georgia Tech’s caliber. We settled down in singles and competed extremely well and had a chance to sweep the top three positions. Georgia Tech’s experience showed through at crunch time. We had great wins from Fani and Alex.”

Auburn rallied late, but couldn’t overcome early deficits to start the afternoon in doubles play. Georgia Tech’s fourth-ranked duo of Amanda McDowell and Irina Falconi defeated Fani Chifchieva and Melissa Koning 8-4. Christy Striplin and Noelle Hickey won the doubles point for the Yellow Jackets by the same score against the Tiger duo of Alex Haney and Myrthe Molenveld, 8-4. Playing in the No. 3 spot, Georgia Tech’s Sasha Krupina and Hillary Davis held off Chappell and Hastenrath for an
8-6 win.

Chifchieva, currently ranked sixth, rebounded from a 6-0 blanking in the first set, for a 6-2, 7-6 victory over defending NCAA Singles champion and 11th-ranked Amanda McDowell. It is the first time in three meetings that Chifchieva has defeated McDowell and the win avenges her loss to McDowell in the semifinals at the NCAA Singles Championship in 2008.

Registering an upset in singles play was No. 86 Haney, who handed No.
23 Falconi a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 setback to pick up the Tigers first singles victory.

The Tigers will be back in action on Saturday against No. 40 Louisville in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Clemson, S.C., at 2 p.m.

Singles (order of finish: 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, 6) 1. #6 Fani Chifchieva (AU) def. #11 Amanda McDowell (GT), 0-6, 6-2,
2. #86 Alex Haney (AU) def. #23 Irina Falconi (GT), 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 3. #27 Christy Striplin (GT) def. #41 Melissa Koning (AU), 6-4, 6-4 4. Noelle Hickey (GT) def. Myrthe Molenveld (AU), 6-2, 6-2 5. Sasha Krupina (GT) def. Whitney Chappell (AU), 6-4, 6-4 6. Viet Ha Ngo (GT) def. Jil Hastenrath (AU), 6-1, 6-1

Doubles (order of finish: 1, 2, 3)
1. No. 4 Amanda McDowell/Irina Falconi (GT) def. Fani Chifchieva/Melissa Koning (AU), 8-4 2. Christy Striplin/Noelle Hickey (GT) def. Alex Haney/Myrthe Molenveld (AU), 8-4 3. Sasha Krupina/Hillary Davis (GT) def. Whitney Chappell/Jil Hastenrath (AU), 8-6