HOUSTON – Middle Tennessee’s women’s tennis team began play in the Conference USA Women’s Tennis Championship Friday, picking up a 4-2 win over rival Western Kentucky.
The fourth-seeded Blue Raiders (19-4) started the match with back-to-back wins in doubles play over the 13th-seeded Lady Toppers (6-10) to take the early advantage.
Brittany Huxley and Nayara Moraes scored an 8-5 win at the No. 2 position over WKU’s Tereza Hejlova and Elpida Malamou. The Blue Raiders secured the doubles point, when Tiffany William and Darya Shulzhanok earned a tight 8-7 (7-3) win at the No. 1 spot.
As singles play got underway, Huxley snagged a 6-0, 7-5 win over Malamou at the No. 4 spot.
WKU finally got on the board at No. 1, as Hejlova earned a 6-4, 6-3 victory over William, cutting MTSU’s lead to 2-1.
Shulzhanok fired back with a win at No. 2 in the first three-set match of the contest. Shulzhanok breezed her way to a 6-2 win the first set. The Lady Toppers’ Emilia Granstrom evened the match up with a 6-1 decision in the second set. The third set went the way of Shulzhanok, as she turned back Granstrom 6-3, giving the Blue Raiders a 3-1 advantage.
WKU answered with a three-set win of its own at No. 3. Jesse Grace took the early lead, winning the first set 7-5. WKU’s Andrea Christopoulou answered back with 6-3, 6-4 wins in the next two sets to take the match, and narrow the deficit to one, 3-2.
Sarah Sediri captured the game-clinching fourth point for the Blue Raiders at No. 6. She made quick work of Madeline Phillips, beating WKU’s netter 6-0, 6-2 to provide the 4-2 final result in favor of MTSU.
With the win, the Blue Raiders now advance to take on fifth-seeded Florida International.
The match will begin at 2 p.m. CT Friday. If MTSU advances to the semifinals, it will face either No. 1 seed Rice, or No. 9 seed Charlotte.
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