ATLANTA – Coming out hot and earning a tightly-contested doubles point, 15th-ranked Vanderbilt persevered through a late comeback effort in singles from No. 9 Georgia Tech on Sunday in earning a 4-2 road victory to close the nonconference portion of its 2021 schedule.
Vanderbilt (8-0) has now won each of its last two meetings with top-10 team, beating No. 10 Ohio State 5-2 last season on Feb. 16, 2020. The victory also marks the first over a nationally-ranked opponent as a head coach for Aleke Tsoubanos.
“This is a big road win for our team, one where we had to battle tooth and nail for every point,” Tsoubanos said. “Credit to Georgia Tech, they had their backs up against it losing doubles and five of six first sets in singles and managed to turn all of them around. We were strong in doubles – their doubles teams are really good – and we carried the momentum quite well into singles. Down the stretch, everyone battled and Marcella Cruz played great tennis with so few errors to get it done at the end. It’s early and we have a long way to go, but a great win for our team heading into SEC play.”
Cruz clinched the Vanderbilt victory with a comeback 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win at No. 6. Trailing 4-1 in the third, she earned multiple breaks of Carol Lee to go up 6-5, then served out the win to clinch the team triumph and her eighth individual win of the spring season.
SHE DOES IT‼️
— Vanderbilt Women’s Tennis (@VandyWTennis) February 14, 2021
The day started with Vanderbilt’s No. 3 doubles duo of Christina Rosca and Anessa Lee racing out to a 6-2 win. While Georgia Tech’s (7-4) No. 1 duo ranked No. 13 in the country evened doubles at one apiece, Cruz and Emma Kurtz earned a 6-4 win at No. 2 to give Vandy the early 1-0 lead.
In singles, Lee continued to get the job done quickly with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Monika Dedaj at No. 5 to give the Commodores a 2-0 lead. Shortly after, No. 20 Christina Rosca weathered a second-set comeback from No. 123 Gia Cohen and won a tiebreaker to claim a 6-3, 7-6 (5) win for a 3-0 Vanderbilt lead.
Putting its comeback together, No. 13 Kenya Jones battled Kurtz through three sets to win 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-3 and Rosie Garcia Gross fought off a second-set tiebreaker against Holly Staff at No. 4 to win 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 to cut Tech’s deficit to 3-2.
Down the stretch, Anna Ross won a first-set tiebreaker and held serve back and forth in the third with No. 56 Victoria Flores at No. 2, but the match went unfinished at 7-6 (5), 1-6, 4-4 because Cruz earned her break and held to give Vanderbilt the 4-2 win.
Finished with nonconference play, Vanderbilt will start its SEC campaign Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. with a visit from LSU before hosting Texas A&M on Saturday at noon. LSU is receiving votes in this week’s Oracle/ITA rankings while Texas A&M checked in at No. 24 in the country.
1. #13 Kenya Jones (GT) def. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-3
2. #56 Victoria Flores (GT) vs. Anna Ross (VANDY) 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 4-4, unfinished
3. #20 Christina Rosca (VANDY) def. #123 Gia Cohen (GT) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
4. Rosie Garcia Gross (GT) def. Holly Staff (VANDY) 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
5. Anessa Lee (VANDY) def. Monika Dedaj (GT) 6-2, 6-1
6. Marcella Cruz (VANDY) def. Carol Lee (GT) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
1. #5 Victoria Flores/Kenya Jones (GT) def. Anna Ross/Holly Staff (VANDY) 6-2
2. Emma Kurtz/Marcella Cruz (VANDY) def. Ruth Marsh/Gia Cohen (GT) 6-4
3. Christina Rosca/Anessa Lee (VANDY) def. Sophia Sassoli/Monika Dedaj (GT) 6-2
Vanderbilt 8-0; National ranking #15
Georgia Tech 7-4; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,3,1,4,6)
Match played indoors. Outside temp below 50.