AU Sophomore Falls In NCAA Semi-finals

Fani Chifchieva's strong run in the NCAA Tennis Tournament ended one win short of the championship match.

Tulsa, Okla.--Fani Chifchieva's run at a national title ended on Saturday afternoon in the semi-finals of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships.

Amanda McDowell, the nation's seventh ranked player from Georgia Tech, took a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Chifchieva, who ends her season with a 27-3 singles record. Two of the three losses were to McDowell.

Unseeded Zuzana Zemenova of Baylor, the 2005 NCAA singles champ, will take on McDowell in the championship match on Monday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa.

Chifchieva, who came into the 64-player singles draw seeded 14th, won four matches in Tulsa, including victories over No. 2 seed Ani Mijacika of Clemson and No. 6 Amanda Fink of Southern Cal. No player in Auburn women's tennis history has ever advanced as far into the NCAA tournament as Chifchieva, a sophomore who earned SEC Player of the Year honors this season.

The Auburn women's doubles team of Alex Haney and Melissa Koning won one match in Tulsa while men's singles player Alexey Tysrenov also won a match at the NCAA competition.

"Fani made a good run in this tournament," said Auburn head coach Tim Gray. "She beat two higher-seeded opponents and we are very proud of her."

Gray said that although Chifchieva was sharper at times during the regular season with her strokes, he noted that she used her head to make a strong run in the NCAA tournament. "Fani played smart tennis," he pointed out. "She has improved a great deal from her freshman season."

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