May 14, 2010

Courtesy of Georgia Athletics

The 19th-ranked University of Georgia women’s tennis team used a 4-0 victory over No. 39 Harvard Friday morning to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships. Georgia will next face the winner of today’s other match between host Clemson and the College of Charleston tomorrow at 1 p.m.

The Bulldogs (13-8) are making their 24th consecutive NCAA appearance and have now made it out of the first round 23 of those 24 times.

“I thought the team started really well today in doubles and kept it going in singles,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “We’ve been going with a different lineup at two and three doubles and it was great to get that point. Then we got four of six first sets in singles pretty quickly and saw a lot of our depth. Yvette [Hyndman] as a senior was able to get the clincher which was good to see.”

Georgia was quick to capture the doubles point, starting with an 8-1 victory at No. 3 where seniors Naoko Ueshima and Hyndman defeated Harvard’s Agnes Sibilski and Samantha Gridley. That duo improved to 2-1 on the season when playing together.

The clincher came via the same score at No. 1, as the eighth-ranked pair of sophomore Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist downed the Crimson’s Holly Cao and Samantha Rosecranz, 8-1. Gullickson and Gilchrist improve to a team-best 21-6 on the year and gave Georgia the early 1-0 advantage.

On two, Georgia’s Cameron Ellis and Lara Fakhoury were down 5-4 to Kristin Norton and Hideko Tachibana before the match was suspended.

The Bulldogs carried the early momentum into singles, where they got three victories from Ellis, Fakhoury, and Hyndman to capture the shutout.

Ellis was first off with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Sibilski on court five to put UGA up by a 2-0 score, improving to 21-16 on the year. Fakhoury followed soon after with another 6-1, 6-1 win over Alexandra Lehman on six to give the Bulldogs their third point of the way and just one shy of the clincher.

That came on three, where Hyndman battled Norton to a 6-2, 6-3 decision to pull out the win. It was the third clincher of the year for Hyndman.

On court two, 48th-ranked Gilchrist rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the first set to force a tiebreaker, which she won 7-4 to claim the first set. Gilchrist led 2-1 in the second as well before the match was suspended. No. 12 Gullickson edged No. 73 Cao, 6-4, in the first and trailed 5-2 in the second on court one, while Ueshima was down 7-5, 3-1 to Gridley on court four.

The win improved Georgia to 3-1 all-time against the Crimson (14-8) and 58-21 in the tournament.

“I think everyone started well in doubles,” Hyndman said. “Then Cam and Laura started us off with wins in singles and the rest of us were out there fighting. We’re ready to come back tomorrow. We know it’ll be hotter playing at 1 p.m. but we’re expecting to come out hard and play well.”

With a win in the second round tomorrow, the Bulldogs would claim one of 16 spots in the NCAA Championships May 20-31 at home in Athens, Ga.