Still shorthanded due to illness, WKU Tennis dropped a 5-2 decision at Louisville to wrap up weekend play. A day after defeating UTEP 4-1 in their Conference USA opener, the Lady Toppers (1-2; 1-0 C-USA), suffered their second loss to a Power 5 squad this season as the Cardinals improved to 5-0 on the year.
Opening the match from Louisville’s Bass-Rudd Tennis Center with just two doubles tandems on the court, WKU’s Elpida Malamou and Natalia De Ugarte took care of business with a 6-1 win in the No. 2 slot over the Cardinals’ Sena Suswam and Raven Neely. However, the hosts were too much for the Lady Toppers’ top doubles team as Moka Ito and Violetta Shatalova suffered a 6-4 loss as Louisville secured the day’s opening point.
With just five players dressed for the second-straight day, WKU forfeited the No. 6 singles tilt falling into a 2-0 hole. Louisville struck quickly in single action, claiming the first set in all five matches, but the Lady Toppers came back to win the second set on three of the courts.
Play wrapped up at No. 4 singles first as Cindy Oest suffered a 6-3, 6-4 straight-set loss. De Ugarte helped WKU avoid its first sweep of the year by striking with a dominant comeback at the No. 5 spot. After being held scoreless in the first frame, De Ugarte clinched the second set 6-4, before working to a 6-3 victory in the decisive third frame.
Louisville secured its fifth win of the year with a second-set tiebreaker on the third court where Shatalova fell 6-3, 7-6 for the Lady Toppers.
Finishing out the match, WKU’s Ito tallied another point for the Red and White in the No. 2 slot. After falling in the first set 2-6, the freshman fought back to win the remaining frames 6-4 and 6-3, respectively.
Over on the top court, Malamou battled back after a 6-3 first set loss and evened things up with a 6-2 decision in set two. Louisville’s Aleksandra Mally ultimately claimed the match’s final point after a 7-5 third-set victory though.
Looking to get back in the win column, WKU Tennis will now turn its attention to its Feb. 9 C-USA contest at UAB.
1. Aleksandra Mally (Louisville) def. Elpida Malamou (WKU) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
2. Moka Ito (WKU) def. Mariana Humberg (Louisville) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
3. Abbie Pahz (Louisville) def. Violetta Shatalova (Louisville) 6-3, 7-6
4. Tiffany Huber (Louisville) def. Cindy Oest (WKU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Natalia De Ugarte (WKU) def. Raven Neely (Louisville) 0-6, 6-4, 6-3
6. Maya Smith (Louisville) def. No player (WKU), by forfeit
1. Abbie Pahz/Mariana Humberg (Louisville) def. Moka Ito/Violetta Shatalova (WKU) 6-4
2. Elpida Malamou/Natalia De Ugarte (WKU) def. Sena Suswam/Raven Neely (Louisville) 6-1
3. Ariana Rodriguez/Aleksandra Mally (Louisville) def. No player/No player (WKU), by forfeit
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,4,5,3,2,1)
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