GAINESVILLE, Fla. (April 21, 2022) - In a come-from-behind victory led by tremendous singles play, the Tennessee women's tennis team defeated Alabama, 4-1, Thursday night in the second round of the SEC Championships.
Three quick singles victories proved massive for the Lady Vols (14-8), who dropped the doubles point with losses on Courts 1 and 3. Daria Kuczer was the first to secure a win for the Big Orange, winning 6-1, 6-3 over Anne Marie Hiser, the same Alabama player she defeated last Sunday.
Eleonora Molinaro, playing a strong, aggressive match on both the forehand and backhand side, swiftly collected the second point with a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Court 6. Elza Tomase finished out the furious Tennessee blitz, grabbing a third straight-set victory on Court 3, 6-2, 6-2.
"The doubles today was not good enough if we want to win tomorrow," associate head coach Jarryd Chaplin said. "But credit to our girls, today was an outstanding singles performance I thought. It will require a similar effort for us tomorrow."
Rebeka Mertena and Esther Adeshina were both in the final game of their matches when the Lady Vols delivered the clinch. Mertena, in a battle on the top court, posted a straight-sets victory over 83rd-ranked Loudmilla Bencheikh, 6-4, 6-4, to finish the day.
Adeshina was mere seconds away from getting a victory on Court 4. She was up 30-15 and leading 5-0 in the third set, when Mertena delivered the winner.
Tennessee will be back in action tomorrow night as it faces the second-seeded Auburn Tigers at 6 p.m. at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. The match marks the first contest of the tournament for AU.
With Elza Tomase's victory on Court 3, the Lady Vols improved to 13-0 when winning or going unfinished at No. 3. UT is 0-8 when it loses on 3.
ALISON VS. ALABAMA
Head coach Alison Ojeda kept her unbeaten streak alive vs. Alabama since taking over the program in 2017, winning her eighth match vs. Bama.
#26 Tennessee 4, #40 Alabama 1
1. #34 Mertena, Rebeka (TENN) def. #83 Loudmilla Bencheikh (UA) 6-4, 6-4
2. #60 McGiffin, Tenika (TENN) vs. #75 Petra Sedlackova (UA) 3-6, 6-4, 0-1, unfinished
3. #121 Tomase, Elza (TENN) def. Ola Pitak (UA) 6-2, 6-2
4. Adeshina, Esther (TENN) vs. Anna Parkhomenko (UA) 6-2, 4-6, 5-0, unfinished
5. Kuczer, Daria (TENN) def. Anne Marie Hiser (UA) 6-1, 6-3
6. Molinaro, Eleonora (TENN) def. Kasia Pitak (UA) 6-3, 6-2
1. #77 Anna Parkhomenko/Petra Sedlackova (UA) def. #71 Mertena, Rebeka/Adeshina, Esther (TENN) 6-2
2. McGiffin, Tenika/Tomase, Elza (TENN) def. Anne Marie Hiser/Loudmilla Bencheikh (UA) 6-1
3. Kasia Pitak/Ola Pitak (UA) def. Molinaro, Eleonora/Kuczer, Daria (TENN) 6-4