By Staff Report.
CARY, NC – The top of the women’s tennis lineup flexed its muscle, and Josipa Bek completed a big comeback at flight one to propel sixth-seed and 13th-ranked Clemson (19-9) past the 11th-seeded Hokies (10-15), 4-1, in the First Round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday. The Tigers took the doubles point at the top two spots, and won singles matches at flights one, two, and three.
The Tigers move on to play third-seeded Miami on Friday at 3:00 pm in the quarterfinals, and improved to 31-22 all-time in ACC Tournament play.
The Tigers closed the regular season with a 7-0 win over Virginia Tech in Clemson, and improved to 13-3 all-time against the Hokies with their second win in five days against the Hokies.
Both teams shook off a nearly two-hour delay, as morning rain pushed back the start times of all following matches. The match, scheduled for 3:00 pm, got underway just before 5:00 pm, but Clemson showed little signs of rust.
The nation’s fifth-ranked doubles team of Josipa Bek and Keri Wong took care of 52nd-ranked Yasmin Hamza and Holly Johnson, 8-2, on court one to improve to 28-8 together this season, moving within one win of the single-season doubles team wins record. Bek improved to 34-10 individually, within one win of tying former teammate and doubles partner Ina Hadziselimovic with 35 doubles wins in a season. It was Wong’s 33rd win of the season as well.
The duo will have a tough match on their hands Friday, as they will play 4th-ranked Anna Bartenstein and Bianca Eichkorn of Miami.
Freshman Klara Vyskocilova and sophomore Caroline Magnusson won together at flight two to clinch the doubles point. Despite playing together only four times previously, the two look to be hitting their stride at the right time.
Wong, ranked 45th nationally in singles, gave Clemson the 2-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Martha Blakely at flight two. It was Wong’s eighth win in the last nine matches in singles play.
Virginia Tech got one back as Isel Martinez-Marcos defeated Laurianne Henry, 6-3, 6-3 at flight six to pull within one at 2-1.
No. 116 Nelly Ciolkowski was the next to strike, using a variety of shots and patterns to overcome a slow start for a 6-4, 6-2 win against Tea Ivanovic, who did not play in the most recent match on Sunday, at flight three. It was the sophomore’s fourth straight win overall.
No. 10 Josipa Bek clinched the match after an impressive second-set comeback. The junior took the first set, 6-2, but found herself facing a 5-1 deficit against No. 89 Yasmin Hamza, who was trying to spark a comeback for the Hokies. But Bek dug in her heels, holding serve to move to 5-2, then breaking Hamza and holding her own serve for five consecutive games, pulling out the 7-5 set win. And clinching the match for the Tigers. It was Bek’s 31st win of the season, and she improved to 16-9 against ranked competition.
On the other two courts, Caroline Magnusson took the first set, 6-4, at flight five and led 3-2 when play was halted. Masha Belaya won her first set, 6-2, but dropped the second, 6-2, at trailed 4-2 in the third at the conclusion of the match.