USC Falls 4-3 In Marathon Match With UNC

Feb. 8, 2008

MADISON, WISC. - The No. 8 USC women's tennis team were embedded in a seven-hour match against No. 14 North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Friday. The match came down to a three-set nail-biter at the No. 5 singles slot - a battle that raged for three hours and seven minutes before UNC's Laura Reichert edged USC freshman Maria Sanchez 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5) to get the Tarheels to a 4-3 win. Now 5-1 on the season after its first loss of the year, USC will now move into the consolation quarterfinals against Georgia tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. CT in Madison, Wisc.

In what seems like ages ago, USC snagged the doubles point in a competitive series of matches. With USC's Fink/Niculescu winning 8-5 at the No. 1 slot and UNC's Reichert/Tsang notching a 9-7 win over Nelson/Sanchez at No. 2, the tone for the rest of the match was set with a 9-8 (1) decision in USC's favor - a hard-fought victory for Trojans Entekhabi/Fansler - at the No. 3 position.

Up 1-0 in the match, USC saw its opponents pull even on a 6-3, 6-4 win by Katrina Tsang over Amanda Fink at No. 2. Gabriela Niculescu got USC back on top 2-1 with her 6-7, (1), 6-2, 6-4 comeback effort over Jelena Durisic at No. 4. Again UNC locked the match up, as Sanaz Marand downed Lindsey Nelson 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 1 spot. And again, USC had an answer as freshman Leyla Entekhabi posted another win out of her No. 6 position with a 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4 comeback over Meg Fanjoy. At the No. 2 slot, UNC's Austin Smith was able to top Sarah Fansler with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 decision, putting all eyes on court five, where Maria Sanchez was engaged in an all-out battle with Reichert. Reichert claimed the first set 7-5, but Sanchez responded. The freshman forced the tiebreaker and claimed the set 7-6 (3) to bring up a third. That, too, would be pushed into a tiebreaker, and Reichert was able to hold on and eke out a 7-6 (5) decision in the third to finally give the pair a break after over three hours on the courts.

#14 North Carolina 4, #8 USC 3
(1) Fink/Niculescu (USC) def. Marand/Grabinski (UNC) - 8-5
(2) Reichert/Tsang (UNC) def. Nelson/Sanchez (USC) - 9-7
(3) Entekhabi/Fansler (USC) def. Smith/Fanjov (UNC) - 9-8 (1)
USC wins doubles point

(1) Sanaz Marand (UNC) def. Lindsey Nelson (USC) - 6-3, 6-3
(2) Katrina Tsang (UNC) def. Amanda Fink (USC) - 6-3, 6-4
(3) Austin Smith (UNC) def. Sarah Fansler (USC) - 7-6 (6), 6-1
(4) Gabriela Niculescu (USC) def. Jelena Durisic (UNC) - 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4
(5) Laura Reichert (UNC) def. Maria Sanchez (USC) - 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(5)*
(6) Leyla Entekhabi (USC) def. Meg Fanjoy (UNC) - 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 6, 3, 5*

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