HBCU Report: Alabama State, Jackson State advance to Women’s Tennis Championship


NEW ORLEANS, La. – Top seeds Alabama State and Jackson State prevailed in Saturday’s semifinals on day two of the 2017 SWAC Women’s Tennis Tournament played at the Pepsi Tennis Center.

The No. 1 seeded Lady Hornets swept No. 4 Alcorn State 4-0 behind strong performances from sophomore Reka Szentes and senior Marine Cartier, who each won their match in singles competition and also teamed together to win their match at the No. 2 doubles position.

Szentes, playing from the No. 1 position, defeated Lady Braves counterpart Daria Chemodanova 6-0, 6-4 while Cartier topped Klavdija Bukovec 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 2 position.

Szentes and Cartier helped Alabama State take the doubles point as well by winning their No. 2 doubles match by the score of 6-2 over the Alcorn State duo of Bianca Birkenstock and Anastasia Vaganova.

The pair of Mirna Curcic and Gabriela Lackova defeated the pairing of the 2016 SWAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player Marlene Maier and Veronika Pytlikova 6-2.

At the No. 6 singles spot, Croatian freshman Marija Blazevic topped Maier 6-2, 6-4.

The win ensured that there will be a new champion crowned this season in the women’s competition as Alcorn State had entered as the defending SWAC Champions.

Alabama State has won the SWAC Championship on the women’s side on two occasions, the last dating back to 1999.

In the other semifinal, No. 2 Jackson State eliminated No. 3 Southern 4-1 spearheaded by the performances of SWAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year Tyler Smith, sophomore Lucia Solis and freshman Nina Zhang, who all won their singles matches as well as their match in doubles play.

Smith and Solis teamed to take care of Rufaro Chirewa and Darnesha Moore 6-4 at the No. 2 doubles position while Zhang partnered with Daria Butorina to top D’Jeri Raymond and Mia Kent 6-1 at the No. 3 position to earn the doubles point.

In singles competition, Smith beat freshman Stephanie Mbaya 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 1 spot, Solis knocked out Moore 7-5, 6-1 at the No. 2 position and Zhang played tough in the final set to defeat freshman Tanaka Chakanyuka 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 at the No. 4 position.

Jackson State has also won the SWAC Women’s Tennis Championship twice with their last title coming in 2009.

The SWAC Championship between Alabama State and Jackson State will be held on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Pepsi Tennis Center.