EVANSTON, Ill. -- Belinda Niu capped a marathon match with Daniela Vidal at No. 2 singles to clinch Northwestern's 4-3 victory against No. 39 Purdue on Saturday at the Combe Tennis Center. The Wildcats moved to 2-0 in Big Ten play with the win, but it wasn't easy.
The `Cats jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but Purdue responded by winning two in a row to tie the overall match at three, setting the stage for a winner-take-all battle between Niu and Vidal. The two exchanged point after point for hours until Niu finally emerged as the victor in the deciding third set by a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-3 score. Niu extended her current winning streak to 11 matches.
NU got off to a quick start in singles play with Alicia Barnett taking down Nicole Robinson at No. 3 6-3, 6-2. Veronica Corning followed that up with a straight-set win of her own, defeating Mara Schmidt by the same 6-3, 6-2 score at No. 1. Schmidt was the first unranked opponent Corning has faced in 2014.
Playing at No. 4, Jillian Rooney was narrowly defeated by Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum 6-4, 6-4. Maddie Lipp also went down in straight sets at No. 6 to Andjela Djokovic 6-3, 6-2. In a very competitive match at No. 5 Krisztina Kapitany got the best of Lok Sze Leung, prevailing in three sets 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
Northwestern extended its record to 7-0 when winning the doubles point this season. Victory was never in doubt for Niu and Brooke Rischbieth, playing at No. 2, as they handled Daniela Vidal and Natalia Davila 8-1. Lipp and Manon Peri overcame a 5-4 deficit, winning the final four games of the match to win 8-4 versus Claudia Escribens and Nicole Robinson. With the doubles point already in hand, Corning and Barnett attempted a comeback of their own at No. 1. Trailing 5-2 at one point against Mara Schmidt and Krisztina Kapitany, the NU duo managed to take the match into a tiebreaker where they fell 9-7.