For the first time since 2018 and the 14th time in program history, the Emory University women's tennis team will play for a national championship as the Eagles defeated Tufts University, 5-2, in the national semifinals Tuesday afternoon at the Champions Tennis Club in Chattanooga, TN.
The win over the Jumbos sets up a national title matchup against defending national champions Wesleyan University. The Cardinals (10-0) knocked off Kenyon College, 5-1, in the other semifinal match on Tuesday.
The championship, which is a rematch of the thrilling 2019 national semifinals meeting between the two teams, is set to get underway at 10:00 AM EST at the Champions Club. Fans can track the action with live stats and video which can be found here: https://sewaneetigers.com/tournaments/tennis/2020-21/index.
Stephanie Taylor provided the clinching point at third singles as she rallied for the 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win. Taylor trailed 5-4 in the second set before winning back-to-back points to move in front 6-5. Maddie Suk was able to force a tiebreaker and took a 2-0 lead in the tiebreak before Taylor won seven of the next 10 points to force a third set. With the third set tied at 2-2, Taylor claimed the next four games to seal the set and match win for the Eagles.
Taylor and doubles teammate Christina Watson opened Tuesday's match with an 8-5 victory on court two. The following two doubles matches needed tiebreakers to decide a winner. Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico and Katie Chang gave Emory a 2-0 advantage as they won 8-7 (3) on court one, however, Tufts picked up the win at third doubles, knocking off Ana Cristina Perez and Lauren Yoon, 8-7 (2).
Watson and Gonzalez-Rico pushed Emory's lead to 4-1 as they were the first to finish singles matches on courts one and two. Watson was a 6-2, 6-1 winner at No. 2 singles with Gonzalez-Rico turning in a 6-3, 6-4 shortly after on court one.
The Jumbos cut it to 4-2 as Defne Olcay was upended in straight sets at fifth singles, 6-1, 6-4, turning all attention to the three remaining matches on courts three, four and six.
Perez was on the cusp of forcing a third set when the match was halted, bouncing back to lead 6-5 in the second after dropping set one 7-5. At sixth singles, Jessica Fatemi won her first set 6-3 before falling in set two 6-3 and was trailing 3-1 in the third when play was stopped.
HEAD COACH AMY BRYANT POST-MATCH INTERVIEW