ZHELTOVA UPSETS 24TH-RANKED COROVIC, ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND OF NCAA SINGLES TOURNAMENT
ATHENS, Ga. -- Sacramento State freshman Katrina Zheltova lost the first set, before storming back to take the next two sets and defeat 24th-ranked Vanja Corovic of the University of Texas, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship Wednesday afternoon at the Henry Feild Tennis Center.
The win for Zheltova, who is currently 111th in the nation, came over an opponent that was ranked 87 spots ahead of her in the ITA national singles rankings. In a battle of the Big Sky Conference’s Most Valuable Player (Zheltova) and the Big 12’s Freshman and Newcomer of the Year (Corovic), Zheltova won eight of the last 10 games of the match after the score had been knotted at 4-4 in the second set.
The victory for Zheltova marked her second of the season over an opponent that is currently ranked - the other coming against No. 52 Sylvia Kosakowski of Pepperdine on March 24. The Minsk, Belarus, native will now take on seventh-ranked Natalie Frazier of Georgia in the second round of the tournament tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. PST. Frazier, who will be playing on her home court, is one of two Bulldogs that reached the NCAA Singles Tournament.
Zheltova became the second Sacramento State player to advance past the first round of the tournament, joining Margarita Karnaukhova who accomplished the feat twice (Sweet 16 in 2004, second round in 2005).
In today’s match, Zheltova could have easily won the first set, but lost a game at 5-5 that included four deuces and five saved game points before Corovic pulled out the victory to take a 6-5 lead. Trailing, 6-5, Zheltova saved set point and forced deuce after a long rally. However, Corovic won the next two points to win the set, 7-5.
Zheltova, who was playing in just her seventh three-set match of the season, took a 2-1 lead in the second set and never trailed the rest of the way. At 4-4 of the second set, Zheltova used a big first serve that consistently fell during the final two games to take the 6-4 victory. Zheltova then jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third set and cruised the rest of the way.
Zheltova improved her singles record to 19-5 this season and has won each of her last six matches. Frazier is Georgia’s No. 1 player and recently led the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals before the team lost to Cal, 4-1. In that match against Cal, Frazier picked up the team’s lone point, knocking off fourth-ranked Susie Babos, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 1.