THE FLATS – For the 10th time in program history, Georgia Tech women’s tennis is headed to the NCAA Championships Sweet 16. The Jackets punched their ticket on Saturday, defeating Winthrop 4-0 in the second round at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex. Making its third consecutive appearance in the round of 16, Tech will head to the finals site of the NCAA Championships at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.
DOUBLES ACTION: Georgia Tech (23-5) took the early match lead claiming the doubles point. Competing at the No. 3 spot, Tech’s Johnnise Renaud and Nami Otsuka broke Winthrop to take a 3-1 lead before Renaud held serve to setup a 4-1 tally. With another break on the next game, the Jackets held a comfortable 5-1 edge and Otsuka served out the match for a 6-1 triumph over Aida Kelic and Ellie Burns.
Two minutes later, Tech’s No. 48 duo of Ida Jarlskog and Victoria Flores clinched the doubles point from the two seed. Winthrop’s Alisa Soloveva and Tayla Van Eck held serve to open the game, but the Jackets rattled off the next six points to claim a 6-1 win and clinch the early 1-0 match lead for Tech.
SINGLES: Georgia Tech picked up wins from Jarlskog, Renaud and Otsuka in singles play to clinch a spot in Winston-Salem. No. 125 Jarlskog wasted no time collecting a straight-set win over Van Eck at the four seed. The freshman rolled to a 6-2 first set win and raced out with a 5-1 lead in the second set. Van Eck won the next two points to setup a 5-3 score, but Jarlskog broke the Eagle to win the second set 6-3 and push Tech in the lead 2-0.
Battling at the No. 3 position, Renaud staged a comeback to hand Tech its third point of the match. The senior handled Megan Kauffman in the first set, 6-1, but fell behind in the second set, 4-1. After trading the next two points, Kauffman held a 5-2 lead and looked to be on track to split sets with Renaud, but the Yellow Jacket fueled a comeback, winning the next three points to tie the set at 5-all. Both Kaufmann and Renaud held serve to make it 6-6 and force a tiebreak. Renaud trailed 4-3 in the tiebreak before winning the next three points to secure the match, 7-4, and give Tech a 3-0 lead.
Otsuka clinched the match from the No. 5 seed over Kelic. The sophomore pocketed a 6-4 first set and led 5-1 in the second set, but Kelic pulled to within 5-4 before Otsuka broke serve to clinch the match and punch Tech’s spot to the round of 16.
QUOTABLE: “I was pleased with our level of play in doubles. I think that has been a strength for us all year. I thought we took the momentum into singles and I thought the first set in singles, for the most part, we played reasonably well. Congrats to Winthrop for playing good tennis and fighting to the finish line. Obviously we’re really happy to get over the finish line and we’ve just got to get ready to play Thursday night.” – head coach Rodney Harmon
UP NEXT: Georgia Tech will face the winner of the No. 12 Pepperdine/No. 18 Kansas match in the round of 16 in Winston-Salem on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m.
No. 4 GEORGIA TECH vs WINTHROP RESULTS
Match Score: Georgia Tech 4, Winthrop 0
1. No. 1 Paige Hourigan/Kenya Jones (GT) vs. No. 23 Lauren Proctor/Megan Kauffman (WIN) 4-2 DNF
2. No. 48 Ida Jarlskog/Victoria Flores (GT) def. Alisa Soloveva/Tayla Van Eck (WIN) 6-1
3. Johnnise Renaud/Nami Otsuka (GT) def. Aida Kelic/Ellie Burns (WIN) 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. 1. No. 14 Paige Hourigan (GT) vs. No. 37 Lauren Proctor (WIN) 6-2, 5-7, 0-1 DNF
2. No. 60 Kenya Jones (GT) vs. Alisa Soloveva (WIN) 6-3, 6-6 (2-2) DNF
3. Johnnise Renaud (GT) def. Megan Kauffman (WIN) 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
4. No. 125 Ida Jarlskog (GT) def. Tayla Van Eck (WIN) 6-2, 6-3
5. Nami Otsuka (GT) def. Aida Kelic (WIN) 6-4, 6-4
6. Victoria Flores (GT) vs. Ellie Burns (WIN) 6-1, 5-5 DNF
Order of finish: 4, 3, 5
Records: Georgia Tech (23-5); Winthrop (20-6)
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