WACO, Texas – Baylor's 18th-ranked women's tennis team earned its first victory over a ranked opponent by taking down No. 46 Pepperdine, 6-1, on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center.
"I thought the ladies did a great job of coming out and focusing on the task at hand," head coach Joey Scrivano said. "They just played in the present and did not let the past get to them."
Coming into the match, Baylor had lost five-straight, all to top-25 ranked opponents.
For the first time in six matches, Baylor secured the doubles point. Megan Horter and Alex Clay were the first match to wrap up, earning a 8-5 victory over Pepperdine's Megan Moore and Tera Panu. Ema Burgic and Victoria Kisialeva would clinch the point with their 8-5 victory over Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpak Issara at No. 1.
"We're not as bad in doubles as everyone thinks," Scrivano said. "There's some obstacles that we're dealing with that make it very difficult to compete in singles and doubles. We're a team that's a work in progress, as I've said many times. The reality is that we have a lot of new players to our system who didn't play in the preseason, so the bottom line is that we aren't going to be playing our best tennis in February. To all the people who don't know better, we're going to be much better in the second half of the season and in the post season when it really matters. We're getting there."
To kick off singles play, BU placed another point on the board with No. 13 Burgic's straight-set win over Guillermo, 6-2, 6-2. Burgic is now 7-2 in the top spot for the Lady Bears.
"Ema's becoming a very mature player," Scrivano said. "She's developing nicely. We like the way she's handling herself on the court, and her mindset has improved so much since last year. We need her to continue to do this and take it to another level."
Maria Biryukova, in her first singles match of the season, would follow suit with another straight-set win, 6-3, 6-1, over Danielle Feneridis on Court 6. Soon after, Pepperdine would put its first point on the board with Issara's 6-1, 7-6(5) win over Horter at the No. 2 spot.
However, Alex Leatu would secure the match for BU, battling back from a 3-6 loss in the first set. Leatu won her second set, 6-2, and fought back to win the third set, 6-0.
"That showed some incredible courage," Scrivano said. "Any time you're struggling, your confidence is gong to be tested. She just did a great job of handling her confidence level and battling through. It could be a breakthrough match for her."
The last two matches of the day were decided in tiebreakers. Generette's contest against Capannolo ended in a super tie-break, 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6). Kisialeva closed out the day with a victory against No. 124 Ale Granillo in a tiebreak, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(3).
Baylor will be back in action in Notre Dame, Ind. against the Fighting Irish on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.
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