Women's Tennis Advances In NCAA

ATHENS, Ga. – The 26th-ranked Alabama women's tennis team (16-6) earned a 4-0 win over No. 49 Utah (16-10) to advance to the round of 32 in the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Crimson Tide pulled in front early after securing the doubles point and won three straight singles matches, with the clinching victory provided by sophomore Alexa Guarachi.

"Utah is a very good team and has been playing really well as of late," Alabama Coach Jenny Mainz said. "It was certainly a good match both ways today. I really like the way we competed. We won some critical first sets, which really was the difference-maker today. It gave us the added confidence we needed to step up and take the big points."

Alabama's first win of the morning came on court one in doubles as the Tide's 11th-ranked duo of junior Courtney McLane and Guarachi took control early and never looked back as they cruised to an 8-2 win over Utah junior Anastasia Putilina and sophomore Paige Miles. Shortly after the match wrapped up at No. 1, play was halted as inclement weather entered the area. Less than one minute after the match resumed, Alabama Junior Taylor Lindsey and freshman Alex Clay secured the 1-0 lead for the Tide with an 8-4 victory against Ute senior Evgenia Kryuchkova and redshirt sophomore Lexi Provancha. Utah took a 2-0 lead after breaking in the second game, but Alabama won the next four consecutive games and never trailed from there.

Senior Meritt Emery awarded the Tide its first point in singles as she posted a 7-6(6), 6-1 victory over Provancha on court six. Emery grinded out the first-set win in a tiebreaker before sailing to a 5-0 lead in the second. Provancha was able to get one game, however Emery would go on to close out the match in the next game. Moments later, McLane gave Alabama the 3-0 lead as she came back from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to top Ute freshman Sarah Pham 6-3, 7-5. No. 69 Guarachi wrapped things up for the Tide with a win on court two with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Kryuchkova. Guarachi had no trouble in the first, not dropping a single game, before Kryuchkova came up big late in her second to even the sets. Guarachi held strong in the third to take her match and give Alabama the sweep.

The Tide will now play the winner of the No. 8 Georgia - Marist match, which will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

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