Sooners Push Win Streak to Four Matches

Ann Marcelli
By Ann Marcelli
Communications Assistant

NORMAN  Oklahoma women’s tennis pushed its winning streak to four matches Sunday as it defeated Illinois, 5-2, at the Headington Family Tennis Center.

“I think it increases the expectation, which always really it’s a good thing in many ways because you start to ask more of yourself,” said head coach Audra Cohen of her team’s four consecutive victories.

The Sooners are now 7-2 on the season, while the Illini drop to 3-8.

Oklahoma opened the match with the doubles point. On court one, Malene Stripp and Julie Byrne suffered their first loss as a pair when they were defeated by Illinois' Madie Baillon and Jaclyn Switkes, 6-3.

The Sooners rallied as the freshmen duo of Ann Selim and Serena Nash defeated Grace Tapak and Jade Hilton, 6-3, and No. 2 doubles was left to decide the point. Miyazaki and Sethi were up 4-1 before Illinois' Louis Kwong and  Daniela Novak answered back and closed the gap to 5-4. The Sooners prevailed, 6-4, to claim a 1-0 lead after doubles.

In singles play, Byrne continued her dominance on court five with a 6-2, 6-4, defeat of Tapak. In the second set, the freshman looked finish the match, up 5-1, but Tapak won the next three games to make it 5-4. Byrne ultimately came out on top, taking the set for her seventh singles victory on the season.

At No. 1 singles, No. 22 Miyazaki topped Kwong 6-3, 6-2, to give the Sooners a 3-0 lead advantage. Illinois got on the board as Nash fell to Novak 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 at No. 4.  

Stripp notched her fifth straight win in an emotional three-set match, defeating Switkes on court three, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to clinch the match for Oklahoma. The junior lost the first set, but turned the tables in the second frame to to force a deciding third set. In the final set, the junior jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but had to rally and eventually claimed the third-set tiebreaker to earn the victory.

“I was about to lose it, but I got it together – I don’t know how I did it, to be honest,” Stripp said. “I just kept trusting myself and the girls were such a help, Audra was such a help, and they got me through it.”

With the match in hand, Illinois' No. 109 Baillon, defeated Mimi Fotopoulos, 7-5, 6-4, at the No. 2 line. Selim closed the match by takingg down Illinois' Hilton in an extended match on court six, winning 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

“(Ann) Selim is hearty mentally. I think she’s just tough mentally and she doesn’t go away ever – she’s just resilient,” said Cohen.

The Sooners continue their homestand next week as they face Wichita State Saturday at noon CT. Admission to the Headington Family Tennis Center is free.

For updates, follow @OU_WTennis on Twitter.

Singles results

1. #22 Lily Miyazaki (OU) def. Louise Kwong (ILL) 6-3, 6-2

2. #109 Madie Baillon (ILL) def. Mimi Fotopoulos (OU) 7-5, 6-4
3. Malene Stripp (OU) def. Jaclyn Switkes (ILL) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Daniela Novak (ILL) def. Serena Nash (OU) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2

5. Julie Byrne (OU) def. Grace Tapak (ILL) 6-2, 6-4
6. Ann Selim (OU) def. Jade Hilton (ILL) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)

Doubles results
1. Madie Baillon/Jaclyn Switkes (ILL) def. Julie Byrne/Malene Stripp (OU) 6-3
2. Lily Miyazaki/Simran Sethi (OU) def. Louise Kwong/Daniela Novak (ILL) 6-4
3. Serena Nash/Ann Selim (OU) def. Grace Tapak/Jade Hilton (ILL) 6-3

Order of finish:
Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,5,4,2,3,6)