OXFORD, Miss. – Freshman Zalina Khairudinova won a second set tiebreaker to close out a straight set win against Kentucky’s Aldila Sutjiadi and clinch a 4-2 victory for the No. 38 ranked Ole Miss women’s tennis team against No. 24 Kentucky here Sunday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis.
With the win, the Rebels split the weekend and improve to 8-5 overall and 2-4 in the SEC. Kentucky dropped to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC.
Ole Miss has now won six straight against Kentucky, including three in a row in Oxford. The Rebels won the doubles point and picked up wins at No. 6 and No. 4 singles before Khairudinova closed it out at No. 1.
“We were able to get a quick doubles point, but then they came back in singles,” head coach Mark Beyers said. “We didn’t play quite as well as we did on Friday, but we fought back in some matches. Mai came back in her match, Iris fought back from a set down and 5-3. Those are important for the overall score, so Kentucky doesn’t get another point. It came down to a tiebreaker. Overall, I thought Kentucky fought really hard, and we were fortunate to come away with a 4-2 victory.”
The Rebels came out of the lockerroom on fire in doubles. Kentucky was forced to retire after playing only one game at No. 2 doubles when their No.1 player, Nadia Ravita, hurt her back. With the Rebels needing only one of the remaining two matches to clinch the point, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven finished off an 8-3 win over 56th-ranked CeCe Witten and Caitlin McGraw at No. 1 doubles. The Rebels were leading 7-3 at No. 3 doubles.
Both teams split the first sets in singles. The coaches switched the lower part of the lineup, moving Stephens down to No. 6 singles this weekend, hoping to get her confidence back after some tough losses. She responded Sunday, downing Stephanie Fox 6-2, 6-1 to make it 2-0 Rebels.
Kentucky got on the board when Edmee Morin handed Julia Jones her second straight loss, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 3 singles. Mai El Kamash, one of three Rebels to drop her first set, picked up her game in the second set and rallied to win her match 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4 singles to give the Rebels the 3-1 lead.
The Wildcats would not go away though, as Kelsey Dieters finished off a comeback of her own, defeating Rebel senior Caroline Rohde-Moe 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 singles to make it 3-2.
With Iris Verboven having just started her third set against UK’s McGraw on court five, Khairudinova made sure her match would not be needed.
Khairudinova served for the first set against Sutjiadi at 5-3, but didn’t get it. She broke again at 5-5 and served it out 7-5. Once again in the second set, Khairudinova built a 5-3 lead and served for the match. She had three match points, but Sutjiadi staved off all three to stay it in and eventually get to a tiebreaker. Khairudinova won the first two points of the tiebreak, but then Sutjiadi won four straight for a 4-2 lead. Khairudinova answered with three straight points of her own to regain the lead 5-4. Sutjiadi netted the next point, leaving Khairudinova with two more match points. She got the second one to clinch the 4-2 victory.
“It was definitely a tough match,” Khairudinova said. “She was a good player. She was playing well, but I stayed disciplined and was able to close it out. I am really proud of my team. We beat a good team; it was a great day for the Rebels.”
The Rebels will now hit the road for their next three SEC matches beginning with Arkansas Friday, March 21 in Fayetteville.
The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 4 - ULL (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 2 and The Season: Ole Miss... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' open date and return to action on Saturday, Sept. 27 against Memphis.Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:50:18 mark. For the... read more
NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., visited Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Olive Branch, Mississippi, native spoke to various student groups, including the football team. Stenhouse Jr. presented head coach Hugh Freeze with a firesuit, and Freeze presented him with an... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 8-14, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss captured the Magnolia Invitational this past weekend to improve to 10-0, its best start in school history.- The Rebels downed UAB and Mercer 3-0 and then defeated Jacksonville State 3-1... read more
After a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, Ole Miss moved up four spots to No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, released on Sunday. Despite breaking into the top 10, the Rebels remain fifth among Southeastern Conference Western Division... read more
This is the third installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more
Leading 1-0 after controlling the play for much of the game, Ole Miss opened up a 3-0 lead on Middle Tennessee with a pair of goals in the final minute of the first half on the way to a 4-0... read more
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson has come a long way since he was a freshman. That season, he was most notably on the receiving end of a highlight reel juke from Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Three years later, as part... read more
Three areas to watch as Ole Miss faces Louisiana-Lafayette in its home opener Saturday. Wearing the Bull's-Eye After a 2-0 start with wins over Boise State and Vanderbilt, Ole Miss moved up to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll,... read more
With a chance to make history, Ole Miss dropped a first set for the first time this season. The Rebels answered the bell winning the next three sets to defeat Jacksonville State 3-1 and improve to 10-0 on the season,... read more
Rebel Nation goes into its home opener Saturday excited for the return of football at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, but also saddened by the loss of one of its most renowned voices.Stan Sandroni, 64, passed away of a heart attack late Wednesday.... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' home opener Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and will be televised on the SEC Network.Freeze's time... read more
Former Ole Miss football player Jody Hill has partnered with Square Books in Oxford to launch his book, "38: The Chucky Mullins Effect," celebrating the life and impact of his Ole Miss teammate Chucky Mullins. Hill will be signing copies... read more