Baylor tennis rallies back to win in style

Senior Nina Secerbegovic returns a volley during a tennis match against Iowa State on Monday at the Hurd Tennis Center. David Li | Lariat Photographer
Photo File

By Larissa Campos, Reporter

The Baylor women’s tennis team beat No. 36 Florida State and No. 21 Texas Tech this weekend in the ITA Kick-off Weekend to earn a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., from Feb. 8-11.

The team opened up the weekend on Saturday against Florida State with a 4-1 win. The Lady Bears secured the doubles point with a win from sophomore Ema Burgic and freshman Victoria Kisialeva. The match started off favorably with a 2-0 lead from the pair. After dropping three games in a row, the duo found themselves tied 4-4. The players finished strong with four straight games to win the doubles point.

Florida State defaulted one doubles match and one singles match due to lack of players. Going into singles play, the Lady Bears were up 2-0.

Junior Alex Leatu was the first to close out a singles match with a win in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, against FSU’s Kristina Schleich. Coming back from shoulder surgery, Leatu has been a positive addition in her first few matches with the Bears.

“Alex has been getting better of every day,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “I loved the way she fought in the second set. She was down and came back to get that point on the board and that gave us a big boost.”

After Leatu’s win, freshman Kiah Generette lost in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, to the Seminoles’ Amy Sargeant in her first match of the season. This left the overall score at 3-1 in favor of Baylor.

Playing on the No. 1 singles court, Ema Burgic downed No. 37 Daneika Borthwick in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the win for the bears.

“Ema did a great job today,” Scrivano said. “She was playing one of the top players in the country today and to beat her in straight sets with some adversity, it was a good match.”

Despite the win, the team had little time to celebrate with a match the following day against Texas Tech for a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships for the eighth straight season.

“It was really important for us to recover mentally and physically after Florida State,” said junior Megan Horter. “Texas Tech is a great team and we need to come out focused on our game plan.”

To start the match, Baylor dropped the doubles point with a loss from the No. 2 duo of Jordaan Sanford and Kiah Generette against No. 1 duo Burgic and Kisialeva.

Going into singles play down 1-0, Burgic responded with a quick 6-2, 6-0, win over Tech’s Samantha Adams to tie the match up.
The Red Raiders responded with two more singles victories to put them up 3-1, and the Lady Bears found themselves at risk of not making the championship event for the first time since 2005.

The Bears battled back with a 7-5, 6-3, win from Sanford and another victory from Horter to tie the match 3-3. The match ended with a heated battle between Baylor’s Generette and TTU’s Elizabeth Ullathorne. Generette would take the game into a third set and win three straight games to secure the match for the Lady Bears.