HOUSTON (SMU) — The No. 51 SMU women’s tennis team won 4-2 against No. 46 Tulane on the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Championship on Friday. The Mustangs (14-9) advance to play top-seeded and No. 20 Rice on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“It feels great to advance,” said head coach Kati Gyulai. “Our problem solving skills were excellent in the difficult outdoor conditions. Every single line gave us their very best fight today and contributed. It was a fantastic job playing as a team.”
The Mustangs took the first point by winning doubles. No. 66 Aleksandra Malyarchikova and Vaszilisza Bulgakova improved to 10-6 with a 9-7 win at No. 1 doubles. Edyta Cieplucha and Elena Fayner sealed the doubles point with an 8-3 on the No. 3 line. This was the 77th career doubles win for Malyarchikova, moving her to third at SMU. Cieplucha now has 71 career doubles victories which is tied for seventh at SMU.
SMU took the first two singles points to build a 3-0 advantage. Edyta Cieplucha won first at No. 2 and Malyarchikova followed with a sweep at No. 1.
At No. 1 singles, No. 74 Aleksandra Malyarchikova improved to 24-6 and 6-3 against ranked opponents with a 6-2, 6-3 sweep of No. 58 Klara Vyskocilova. Malyarchikova has won her last three matches against ranked individuals. She is now 87-15 (.853) for her career, which is sixth in wins at SMU and second in career winning percentage.
Edyta Cieplucha recorded a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles to improve to 23-14 on the season. She is now 79-34 (.699) in her career, which moves her into a tie for seventh in career victories and ranks 10th in winning percentage.
After Tulane won at No. 3 and No. 6 to close within 3-2, Hristina Dishkova clinched the victory with a three-set win at No. 5 singles. Dishkova rallied after losing the first set for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph that sent SMU to Saturday’s semifinal against No. 20 Rice.