Feb. 17, 2013
FORT WORTH – Behind the heroics of senior Olivia Smith, TCU’s women’s tennis team came from behind to stun No. 17 Vanderbilt, 4-3, on Sunday in a marathon match at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
The No. 34-ranked Horned Frogs improved to 5-1 with the win. The Commodores slipped to 5-4 on the year in the match that lasted nearly five hours. It was TCU’s first win over a top-20 ranked opponent since a 4-2 win over No. 20 Florida State in 2009.
“It’s important for us to win a match like that,” TCU coach Dave Borelli said. “I still think we can be a better team. We’ve got some injuries and some of the kids are struggling a bit. We’re playing with the mentality that we can play with anybody. Our doubles has really been the key. When you can win the doubles point against the teams we have, it’s going to give you confidence. That was an amazing comeback from Livvy. I’m really proud of them.”
With the team scored knotted at three and trailing 2-5 in the second set after dropping the first set, Smith put together a furious rally in the second and third sets to clinch TCU’s 4-3 win. The Bath, England, native won 11 of the last 12 games of the match for a 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 win.
It was Smith’s second of the weekend over a ranked opponent and ran her season mark to 5-0 in singles. Despite trailing in the second set, Smith never faced a match point as she rattled off her remarkable run.
“I relied on my head, heart and legs,” Smith said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and the crowd supporting me.”
TCU opened the match by winning the doubles point in dramatic fashion for the second-straight match. Millie Nichols and Smith grabbed their second win of the weekend over a top-30 opponent with an 8-6 triumph at the expense of No. 29 Courtney Colton and Lauren Mira.
After the Commodores squeaked out a 9-8 (3) win on the second singles court, Gabi Barbosa and Simona Parajova held off the rally of Frances Altick and Georgina Sellyn for a 9-8 (5) win and a 1-0 TCU advantage.
Vanderbilt refused to go away quietly, though, and took a 3-1 lead with wins at Nos. 4, 5 and 6 singles. But, for the second-straight day, TCU’s top three players rose to the occasion when facing ranked opponents.
No. 115-ranked Parajova was the first to cut into the Vanderbilt lead with a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over 51st-ranked Sellyn. The Zvolen, Slovakia, native improved to 5-1 on the year and won both of her matches this weekend over ranked foes.
Stefanie Tan, ranked 50th, tied the proceedings with a 6-2, 6-3 win over 112th-ranked Colton on the top singles court. Tan, the Singapore native, ran her record to 4-1 this spring and set the stage for Smith’s dramatic win.
TCU returns to action Feb. 22 when No. 33-ranked Arizona visits the Friedman Tennis Center. First serve is set for 2 p.m.
MATCH RESULTS – No. 34 TCU 4, No. 17 Vanderbilt 3
No. 1 – #50 Stefanie Tan (TCU) def. #112 Courtney Colton (Vanderbilt), 6-2, 6-3
No. 2 – Olivia Smith (TCU) def. #38 Lauren Mira (Vanderbilt), 5-7, 7-5, 6-1
No. 3 – #115 Simona Parajova (TCU) def. #51 Georgina Sellyn (Vanderbilt), 6-1, 6-3
No. 4 – Marie Casares (Vanderbilt) def. Millie Nichols (TCU), 6-2, 6-2
No. 5 – Frances Altick (Vandebilt) def. Federica Denti (TCU), 6-3, 6-2
No. 6 – Ashleigh Antal (Vanderbilt) def. Kelsey Sundaram (TCU), 6-3, 6-1
No. 1 – Millie Nichols/Olivia Smith (TCU) def. #29 Courtney Colton/Lauren Mira (Vanderbilt), 8-6
No. 2 – Ashleigh Antal/Marie Casares (Vanderbilt) def. Federica Denti/Kelsey Sundaram (TCU), 9-8 (3)
No. 3 – Gabi Barbosa/Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Frances Altick/Georgina Sellyn (Vanderbilt), 9-8 (5)
TCU 5-1; National ranking #34
Vanderbilt 5-4; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Singles (4,6,5,3,1,2); Doubles (1,2,3)