Bruins Pull Upset in Fresno

May 13, 2001

FRESNO, Calif. - The UCLA women's tennis team registered a thrilling 4-3 decision over host No. 12 Fresno State Sunday in the NCAA Regional Finals at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center in Fresno, Calif. With the victory, UCLA qualifies for next week's 16-team NCAA Championships in Stone Mountain, Georgia and will take on Vanderbilt this Thursday. UCLA also improves its mark to 9-17 on the season, and avenges a 5-2 home loss to Fresno State back on Feb. 23.

UCLA, the region's No. 17-32 seed, took control of the match from the outset by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldog's No. 1 team of Simone Jardim and Kim Niggemeyer, ranked No. 6 nationally, lost for the first time since Apr. 7 at Pepperdine in their 8-6 defeat to the Bruins' Lauren Fisher and Petya Marinova, ranked No. 18 in the country. Fresno State's No. 2 team of Liesl Fichtbauer and Courtney Jantz came up short in an 8-6 loss to UCLA's team of Mariko Fritz-Krockow and Sara Walker. Fresno State's No. 3 team of Chantel Wiggins and Kelly Ramirez were clinging to a 7-6 advantage before their match was Suspended.

Fresno State evened the match at 1-1 when freshman Courtney Jantz cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 victory at No. 6 singles. The Bruins then bounced back to win consecutive matches at Nos. 4 and 5 to take a 3-1 lead. UCLA's Marinova recorded a 6-3, 7-5 triumph against junior Ewa Grusiecka at the No. 4 spot, while Fritz-Krockow bested Fresno State's Ramirez 6-4, 6-2 at No.5 to give the lead back to UCLA. Fichtbauer, ranked No. 44 nationally, followed with a clutch 6-1, 7-5 win against No. 88 Catherine Hawley of UCLA to cut the Bruin's lead to 3-2.

With two matches remaining at Nos. 1 and 2, the Bulldogs would have to win both to secure the victory. Jardim lost the first set of her match 6-4 against freshman Lauren Fisher, then stormed back to win the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-2 to deadlock the match at 3-3.

The final match to be decided was already in progress on center court. Fresno State's Niggemeyer, ranked No. 23 nationally, had claimed the first set 7-6 after winning the tiebreaker by an 8-6 score. UCLA's Walker, ranked No. 18, rallied back to win the final five games of the second set and send the match to a third set. Walker proceeded to dominate the final set by winning six straight games, repeatedly pounding groundstrokes past the Bulldog's No. 1 player for a 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-0 match-clinching victory.

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