All Three Women of Troy Advance In NCAA Singles

May 21, 2008

USC's trio of Women of Troy settled into NCAA Singles Championship competition with a winning run through the first round, each earning places in tomorrow's NCAA Round of 32 with victories on day one at Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. Beginning with senior Lindsey Nelson's solid win over LSU's Megan Falcon, sophomore Gabriela Niculescu staged an impressive comeback to beat FSU's Katie Rybakova, and then sixth-seeded junior Amanda Fink rolled past Florida's Julie Cohen to move on in NCAA singles play. Fink and Niculescu will also compete in Thursday's first round of NCAA Doubles competition.

In a rematch of last year's NCAA semifinals, USC senior Lindsey Nelson squared off against her fellow 2007 Honda Award finalist Megan Falcon of LSU. Meeting this time in the 2008 NCAA singles first round, the pair had a tough opening matchup in Tulsa. After going down a break in the first set, Nelson powered back into control and took down the 9-16 seeded Falcon with a 6-3, 6-4 win - putting the finishing touches on the victory with an ace to close the second set.

Soon after, USC sophomore Gabriela Niculescu made a ferocious comeback in her Round of 64 match against Florida State's Katie Rybakova. Niculescu captured the first set, but dropped the second. The Trojan went down double match point, trailing 5-6 in the third set but managed to fight back and wound up holding serve to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Niculescu against fell behind, facing triple match point down 3-6. Once more, Niculescu refused to bend. An ace brought her to 4-6, and a series of errors from Rybakova breathed new life into Niculescu. She worked her way on top and wound up claiming victory on one last ace to win the tiebreak 10-8 and capture the match with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (8) decision to move into tomorrow's Round of 32.

The last Trojan to play on the day was junior Amanda Fink, seeded No. 6 in the tournament. After staying on serve with Florida's Julie Cohen in the first set, Fink broke Cohen to claim the first set 6-4. Fink then went on cruise control for the second set, rolling to a sweep in the frame for a 6-4, 6-0 win to join the rest of her Women of Troy in the Round of 32 singles action.

Fink and Niculescu will also start off their NCAA Doubles run tomorrow, opening up their run with a Round of 32 match against Caitlin Whoriskey/Zsofia Zubor of Tennessee.

Live updates and video of the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Tulsa are available online. CLICK HERE FOR LIVE UPDATES

NCAA WOMEN'S SINGLES
Michael D. Case Tennis Center (Tulsa, Okla.)
Round of 64 (Wed., May 21)
Lindsey Nelson (USC) def. (9-16) Megan Falcon (LSU) - 6-3, 6-4
Gabriela Niculescu (USC) def. Katie Rybakova (Florida State) - 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (8)
(6) Amanda Fink (USC) def. Julie Cohen (Florida) - 6-4, 6-0

Round of 32 (Thurs., May 22)
Lindsey Nelson (USC) vs. Reka Zsilinszka (Duke)
Gabriela Niculescu (USC) vs. Laura Vallverdu (Miami)
Amanda Fink (USC) vs. TBA

NCAA WOMEN'S DOUBLES
Michael D. Case Tennis Center (Tulsa, Okla.)
Round of 32 (Thurs., May 22)
(5-8) Fink/Niculescu (USC) vs. Whoriskey/Zubor (Tennessee)

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