NORFOLK, Va. - The Southern Miss women's tennis team batted in a four-hour marathon that came down to the doubles point as the Golden Eagles outlasted a gritty Charlotte 49er squad in the first round of the Conference USA Tennis Championship at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center to advance to the second round on Thursday.
Southern Miss, winning its first tournament match since 2007, battled to a 3-3 tie in singles action and then emerged from a hard fought doubles battle with a pair of wins.
"Our girls, they always fight and they do it as a team," Southern Miss Head Coach Dominic Modise said. "Our No. 3 doubles have struggled this year but they clinched the match for us. "
Charlotte got the early 1-0 lead in the match as Tatsuko Takayanagi defeated to Karina Gurgenyan at No. 4 by a score of 6-1, 6-1. The Golden Eagles evened the match at 1-1 when Carolin Drescher fought off Victoria Pahlett on court one for a 6-4, 6-0 win. The 49ers took a 2-1 advantage after posting a win at No. 3 where Macy Voderschmidt beat Lisa Noderer 6-2, 7-5.
Freshman Mahitha Dadireddy knotted the match at 2-2 in a three-set affair. Dadireddy captured the first set 6-2 over Lisa Grosselius before falling 6-4 in the second, but recovered for the 6-3 victory in the third to claim the match. Charlotte regained the lead at 3-2 when Jessica Perez outlasted Kathrin Waidner 7-5, 6-2 at No. 6. Alex Kitchen then finished off the singles play by tying the match at 3-3 in forcing the doubles play when she took a 6-3, 6-2 win over Tyler Baker at No. 5 singles.
In doubles, Drescher and Kitchen made quick work of Grosselius and Takayanagi at No. 1 with an 8-1 win. In the remaining two doubles, it didn't look promising at the outset as both teams fell behind early. However, the duo of Gurgenyan and Waidner gained the momentum battling to a 4-4 tie, then battled to an 8-7 win over Perez and Baker at No. 3 to clinch the match for the Golden Eagles. On court two, Noderer and Dadireddy fought back and was leading 7-5 over Pahlett and Voderschmidt when the match was halted.
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