Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
April 28, 2022 (Tucson) - Seniors Nnena Nadozie and Regina Pitts rallied late to win their match to give San Diego State the doubles point and that momentum carried over into singles play as the third-seeded Aztecs recorded a 4-0 victory over sixth-seeded Wyoming in the quarterfinal round of the Mountain West Conference Women’s Tennis Championship.
Once the doubles point was secured, San Diego State won three straight-set singles matches, dropping a total of nine games along the way.
“The conditions were challenging and playing a tough Wyoming team with a match under its belt made things more difficult,” San Diego State head coach Peter Mattera said. “We really fought hard, and it was key getting the doubles point. We carried that over into singles play where we were very efficient.”
The victory was the 15th of the season for SDSU, matching its highest single-season total since the 2013 squad posted 22 wins on its way to winning the Mountain West Conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA tournament.
“We have been preaching how deep we are and put that to the test, particularly late in the season,” Mattera added. “We have taken a few hits when we had injuries, but we have stayed true to ourselves. It is great to have the team intact and healthy. We are hoping we can do what we set out to do at the beginning of the season and that is win the Mountain West Conference.”
San Diego State earned the doubles point after Nadozie and Pitts rallied to win on court two 7-6 (3) over Ana Fernandez and Sophie Zehender. With the other two doubles matches decided earlier, the final four games were played with all eyes on the number two doubles court. After falling behind 5-4, the Aztec pair broke the serve of Fernandez, to knot the match. The sides held serve and were even at three all in the tiebreaker when the Nadozie and Pitts rattled off four straight points to win the set and claim the team point.
“Regina and Nnena didn’t play the score,” Mattera said. “In the tiebreaker, they played really solid tennis and that is what you want to do in those conditions like that. They just played good tennis and were solid in the return game.”
The 61-minute match was incredibly competitive, with Nadozie and Pitts winning 42 of the 80 contested points. The Aztec duo, playing together for the first time since April 10, improved to 5-2 on the season.
Earlier in double action, SDSU’s nationally-ranked pair of Bunyawi Thamchaiwat and Tamara Arnold fell to Maria Oreshkina and Ida Krause on court one 6-1. The Aztec pair, playing together for just the third time since March 27 due to various ailments, fell to 13-3 in the dual season and dropped their first match since March 23. The Aztecs had four break points during the match but were unable to take advantage as the Cowgirls claimed the first completed doubles match.
The Aztecs quickly tied the score on court three, with Alicia Melosch and Cécile Morin defeating Mihaela Kaftanova and Lucia Malinak 6-2. The Aztec pair never faced a break point and won 10 of 13 first service points. SDSU’s dominance was particularly noticeable when Melosch served as SDSU lost just one point in her two service games.
SDSU’s three singles matches were completed within two minutes of one another.
In singles action, Thamchaiwat, who early in the week was named to the all-Mountain West Conference singles and doubles teams, was a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Oreshkina. The Aztecs senior easily controlled the match, converting on 6-of-10 service break opportunities and improving to 12-0 during the dual campaign.
Melosch was a winner over Fernandez 6-2, 6-2 on court five. The senior, who won her team high 13th singles match this year, won a remarkable 85 percent of her first serve, and faced a total of two break points in the match.
On court six, Julia Jordan won her third consecutive match with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Kaftanova. The junior won 24 of 31 total points in a 21-minute first set and coasted to the victory. Her singles win completed the Aztec sweep.
San Diego State will face Colorado State in the semifinal round on Friday at 2 p.m. On Thursday, the second-seeded Rams were a 4-0 winner over San José State. The Aztecs defeated the Rams 4-2 in a neutral court match on April 10.
Women’s Tennis: No. 72  San Diego State 4,  Wyoming 0
1. No. 78 Bunyawi Thamchaiwat (SDSU) def. Maria Oreshkina (Wyo.) – 6-1, 6-1
2. Sophie Zehender (Wyo.) vs. Tamara Arnold (SDSU) – 6-2, 3-3 (not completed)
3. Nnena Nadozie (SDSU) vs. Lucia Malinak (Wyo.) – 7-6 (3), (not completed)
4. Regina Pitts (SDSU) vs. Ida Krause (Wyo.) – 6-3, 3-3 (not completed)
5. Alicia Melosch (SDSU) def. Ana Fernandez (Wyo.) – 6-2, 6-2
6. Julia Jordan (SDSU) def. Mihaela Kaftanova (Wyo.) – 6-0, 6-3
1. Maria Oreshkina / Ida Krause (Wyo.) def. No. 85 Bunyawi Thamchaiwat / Tamara Arnold (SDSU) – 6-1
2. Nnena Nadozie / Regina Pitts (SDSU) def. Ana Fernandez / Sophie Zehender (Wyo.) – 7-6 (3)
3. Alicia Melosch / Cécile Morin (SDSU) def. Mihaela Kaftanova / Lucia Malinak (Wyo.) – 6-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (1, 3, 2); Singles (1, 5, 6)
Team Records: San Diego State (15-6; 6-2 Mountain West), Wyoming (13-12; 5-5 Mountain West)