The No. 64 TCU women’s tennis team had to take the final three singles matches to capture a thrilling 4-3 decision over third-seeded Wyoming Thursday in the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships quarterfinals at the Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex. In blustery conditions in the Nevada desert, the match lasted nearly four and a half hours.
The evening began with the Cowgirls claiming the doubles point with wins at the top two courts. Wyoming’s team of Alexandra Kovacs and Rebecca Berger proved to be too much for TCU’s tandem of Idunn Hertzberg and Nina Munch-Soegaard, cruising to an 8-2 win from the middle slot. Wyoming clinched the early 1-0 advantage as the duo of Simona Synkova and Kim van Ginkel displaced the Frogs’ squad of Kayla Duncan and Katariina Tuohimaa from the first-flight, 8-5.
Wyoming tacked on another point to begin singles action as van Ginkel made quick work of TCU sophomore Shalini Sahoo from the No. 5 position, 6-1, 6-0. The Frogs cut the Cowgirl lead in half when Hertzberg battled to a straight-set victory from the fourth-flight against Berger, 6-2, 6-2. However, Wyoming pushed the team score to 3-1 with Synkova’s 7-6 (7), 7-5 win over Duncan from the No. 3 court.
Finding themselves down 3-1 and on the verge of elimination from the Championships, the Frogs found a way to fight back, starting with senior captain Munch-Soegaard. The Amarillo, Texas native battled after dropping her second set to Wyoming’s Sarah Summerfield to win from the top position, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. With the win, the 2010 all-MWC selection pushed her career ledger to 94-43 to move two wins shy of matching former Frog Teresa Dobson for the fifth-most victories in school history.
With the Frogs down 3-2, Tuohimaa followed from the second flight with a big win of her own, dismissing Kovacs in three sets by the score of 6-0, 2-6, 7-5. Tuohimaa jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the final set, only to allow Kovacs the opportunity to creep within to one game before finishing the match off. In her three years as a Frog, Tuohimaa holds a 6-0 singles record during MWC Championship play.
As Tuohimaa put the finishing touches on Kovacs to move the team tally to 3-3, the focus of the match began to trickle down to the No. 6 position and the storm that was stirring between TCU’s Gaby Mastromarino and Wyoming’s Sasa Nemcova. The two players faced off in Fort Worth on April 3 and Mastromarino walked away with a 6-0, 6-0 victory, but Nemcova wasn’t going down so easy Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Wyoming took the opening set in tiebreaker fashion, as Nemcova cruised past the Frogs’ sophomore 7-6 (2). In the second set, Mastromarino looked beaten, falling in a 5-0 hole. At that point, the Tequesta, Fla., native found her rhythm and began to make Nemcova work: 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, 6-5, 7-5. Remarkably, Mastromarino hit a hot streak and took seven-straight games to push the deciding match into a third set.
In the final set, Mastromarino again can’t find away to take control of the match, falling down early 3-1. However, with Nemcova holding serve and advantage to move to 4-1, the TCU’s sophomore again found the inner strength to turn the match around, stealing three-consecutive games to take a 4-3 lead. After facing three match points, Mastramarino found a way to break Nemcova again to win her sixth-straight singles match, 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-4.
“I didn’t get off to a very good start, finding myself down 5-0 in the second set,” Mastromarino said. “I was just really down on myself, especially knowing that I had beaten her 6-0, 6-0 earlier this season. I started looking around and checking the scores of the other matches and I realized that it was going to come down to me and I needed to make something happen. Even if I was going to lose, I started fighting to stay alive long enough that hopefully my teammates would have a chance to finish their matches.”
“Today was my first match in almost three weeks, coming off of an injury, so I have only been able to practice four days before today’s match,” Mastromarino added. “I just really didn’t have my game tonight, so it was really all about fighting and finding a way to win ugly, especially with the wind.”
The Frogs improved to 8-16 overall on the spring and moved into the MWC Championship semifinals for the fifth-straight year. The victory improved the Purple and White’s record to 10-0 in the all-time series against Wyoming.
TCU returns to action Friday to take on the second-seeded host, UNLV, at 4 p.m. CT. Fans can follow the live action from the MWC Championship Central page.
No. 64 TCU 4, Wyoming 3
April 29, 2010
MWC Championships Quarterfinals — Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex
1. Simona Synkova/Kim van Ginkel (WYO) def. No. 47 Kayla Duncan/Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU), 8-5
2. Alexandra Kovacs/Rebecca Berger (WYO) def. Idunn Hertzberg/Nina Munch-Soegaard (TCU), 8-2
3. Sarah Summerfield/Paloma Navarro (WYO) vs. Maria Babanova/Gaby Mastromarino (TCU), 7-4
1. No. 56 Nina Munch-Soegaard (TCU) def. Sarah Summerfield (WYO), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
2. Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU) def. Alexandra Kovacs (WYO), 6-0, 2-6, 7-5
3. Simona Synkova (WYO) def. No. 113 Kayla Duncan (TCU), 7-6 (7), 7-5
4. Idunn Hertzberg (TCU) def. Rebecca Berger (WYO), 6-2, 6-2
5. Kim van Ginkel (WYO) def. Shalini Sahoo (TCU), 6-1, 6-0
6. *Gaby Mastromarino (TCU def. Sasa Nemcova (WYO), 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 1*); Singles (5, 4, 3, 1, 2, 6*)
*—clinched team victory