Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief
FIU women’s tennis can’t be beat, winning its fifth and sixth straight game by defeating Kennesaw State and Columbia at the FIU Tennis Courts on March 10 and 13.
The team remains undefeated at home at 7-0 this season. The Panthers have emerged victorious 4-0 in four of their last six matches.
No. 62 freshman Ekaterina Khairutdinova and graduate Kamila Umarova got things started in doubles to corral their fourth win of the season at No. 1 doubles, downing Izabelle Persson and Sophie Unger, 6-3, prior to No. 56 sophomore Yasmine Kabbaj and freshman Oyinlomo Quadre following with their ninth straight win at No. 2 doubles to clinch the point, 6-3, over KSU’s Taylor Dean and Sofia Madrid.
Additionally, Kabbaj and Oyinlomo reached double-figure doubles win with 10 on the season.
Junior Salma Loudili and freshman Katerina Mandelikova also added their fourth straight win at No. 3 doubles, coming away 6-3 over Sofia Pinedo and Ji Youn Lee to shift gears into singles.
Kabbaj capped another solid week of action as the C-USA Tennis Athlete of the Week, notching her fifth straight at the No. 1 position (5-4) in dominant fashion, 6-1, 6-0, over Dean.
Mandelikova added her third straight at the No. 5 position, 6-2, 6-3, over Pinedo, while Loudili put the nail in the coffin with her team-high eighth dual win and fourth straight at the No. 6 position, 6-2, 6-4, over Amulika Gottiparty.
Next up for FIU was a hard fought match against Columbia.
The Lions pounced first, breaking Kabbaj and Quadre’s nine-match win streak at the No. 2 doubles spot, 3-6. Umarova and Khairutdinova would return the favor, winning at the No. 1 position over Anna Zhang and Sophia Wang 6-3 to even the score.
Loudili and Mandelikova clinched the point for FIU by the skin of their teeth, beating out Winta Tewolde and Michelle Xu 7-5 in a battle.
Columbia gave the Panthers a tough time in singles, breaking Kabbaj streak at No. 1 singles 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 and downing Loudili 7-6, 6-1.
After Khairutdinova fell in straight sets, the match was tied at 3-3. The Panthers’ fate were all in the hands of Umarova.
Umarova, with all the pressure on her shoulders, rallied back from down a game to defeat Tiwolde 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to secure the resounding victory for FIU.
The team now prepares themselves for East Tennessee State on Wednesday, March 15 at the FIU Tennis Courts. First serve is set for noon.
Kennesaw State Results:
1. Yasmine Kabbaj (FIU) def. Taylor Dean (KSUW) 6-1, 6-0
2. E. Khairutdinova (FIU) vs. Ji Youn Lee (KSUW) 4-6, 5-0, unfinished
3. Oyinlomo Quadre (FIU) vs. Sofia Madrid (KSUW) 6-4, 2-4, unfinished
4. Kamila Umarova (FIU) vs. Sophia Unger (KSUW) 6-2, 2-3, unfinished
5. Katerina Mandelikova (FIU) def. Sofia Pinedo (KSUW) 6-2, 6-3
6. Salma Loudili (FIU) def. Amulika Gottiparthy (KSUW) 6-2, 6-4
Order of finish: 1,5,6
1. E. Khairutdinova/Kamila Umarova (FIU) def. Izabelle Persson/Sophia Unger (KSUW) 6-3
2. Yasmine Kabbaj/Oyinlomo Quadre (FIU) def. Taylor Dean/Sofia Madrid (KSUW) 6-3
3. Katerina Mandelikova/Salma Loudili (FIU) def. Sofia Pinedo/Ji Youn Lee (KSUW) 6-3
Order of finish: 1,2,3
1. Anna Zhang (COL) def. Yasmine Kabbaj (FIU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
2. Julia Haynes (COL) def. E. Khairutdinova (FIU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Oyinlomo Quadre (FIU) def. Sophia Wang (COL) 6-3, 6-1
4. Kamila Umarova (FIU) def. Winta Tewolde (COL) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
5. Katerina Mandelikova (FIU) def. Michelle Xu (COL) 6-2, 6-1
6. Clarine Lerby (COL) def. Salma Loudili (FIU) 7-6, 6-1
Order of finish: 5,3,1,6,2,4
1. E. Khairutdinova/Kamila Umarova (FIU) def. Anna Zhang/Sophia Wang (COL) 6-3
2. Rachele Rimondini/Shivani Amineni (COL) def. Yasmine Kabbaj/Oyinlomo Quadre (FIU) 6-3
3. Katerina Mandelikova/Salma Loudili (FIU) def. Winta Tewolde/Xu Michelle (COL) 7-5
Order of finish: 2,1,3
Follow Elise Gregg on Twitter at @elisecgregg
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