Texas Women Outlast Texas A&M, 4-3, in Big 12 Championship Semifinals

Longhorns get the clinching victory in a third-set tiebreaker from sophomore Stephanie Davison in a 4-3 Big 12 Championship semifinal win over host Texas A&M.

Second-seeded Texas picked up singles victories from senior Courtney Zauft, sophomore Vanja Corovic and freshman Maggie Mello before getting the clinching victory from sophomore Stephanie Davison in a third-set tiebreaker, as the Horns (18-5) rallied for a thrilling 4-3 victory over third-seeded Texas A&M (16-8) Saturday evening in the semifinals of the 2008 Big 12 Tennis Championship.

Texas will meet Baylor in the finals of the Big 12 Championship for a fourth consecutive season.  The Horns and Bears will do battle on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. Central.

The Horns and Aggies engaged in a lengthy doubles session that ended in favor of Texas A&M.  Texas sophomore Vanja Corovic and junior Marija Milic opened with an 8-3 win at first doubles over Anna Blagodarova and Tiffany Clifford before A&M’s Christi Liles and Elze Potgieter held on for an 8-6 win at the second slot over UT’s Stephanie Davison and Caroline Larsson.

Texas freshman Maggie Mello and senior Courtney Zauft held leads of 7-5 and 8-7 over A&M’s Stephanie Davidson and Morgan Frank, but the Aggies rallied to force a tiebreaker, where they prevailed, 7-3, to win the match and nail down the doubles point.

Zauft put Texas on the board in short order, defeating A&M’s Christi Liles at second singles, 6-3, 6-1.  Corovic pushed Texas ahead with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Potgieter at first singles, but the Aggies evened the tally at two as Frank defeated UT’s Larsson at fourth singles, 6-4, 6-3.

Mello pushed the Horns back into the lead, holding off Clifford’s rally at fifth singles, 6-4, 7-5, giving Texas a 3-2 cushion before Davidson put away Texas’ Sarah Lancaster at sixth singles, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Davison dropped her first set to A&M’s Blagodarova before rallying to take the second, 6-3.  Trailing 6-5 in the third, Davison broke Blagodarova’s serve to force a tiebreaker.  Davison assumed a 4-1 lead before Blagodarova pulled within 4-3.  Davison extended her lead to 6-3 before Blagodarova saved a match point.  However, a Blagodarova return on the ensuing point found the net, giving the tiebreaker and the match to Davison, and the victory to Texas.

Big 12 Championship – Women’s Semifinals
(2) Texas 4, (3) Texas A&M 3
Doubles – Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1 Corovic/Milic (UT) def. Blagodarova/Clifford (TAMU) – 8-3
2 Liles/Potgieter (TAMU)def. Davison/Larsson (UT) – 8-6
3 Davidson/Frank (TAMU) def. Mello/Zauft (UT) – 9-8 (3)

Singles – Order of Finish: 2, 1, 4, 5, 6, 3
1 Vanja Corovic (UT) def. Elze Potgieter (TAMU) – 7-5, 6-3
2 Courtney Zauft (UT) def. Christi Liles (TAMU) – 6-3, 6-1
3 Stephanie Davison (UT) def. Anna Blagodarova (TAMU) – 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
4 Morgan Frank (TAMU) def. Caroline Larsson (UT) – 6-4, 6-3
5 Maggie Mello (UT) def. Tiffany Clifford (TAMU) – 6-4, 7-5
6 Stephanie Davidson (TAMU) def. Sarah Lancaster (UT) – 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

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