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April 9, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Pitt tennis team fell, 5-2, to Virginia Tech Sunday afternoon at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Center. Although suffering a loss, Pitt clinched the doubles point while one Panther earned a singles win.
Sophomore Clara Lucas had an impressive showing in singles as she defeated Nancy Ghanem at the No. 5 position, while redshirt senior Amber Washington recorded her 100th career win.
“I think we did a good job in doubles, it was great getting that point,” said head coach Alex Santos. “Most importantly it was great to close the day the way we did, playing the type of tennis where we’re going after our shots, playing the long points when we needed to, so I think that was a huge plus. We showed a good fight in singles but we didn’t play a complete match.”
The Panthers came out ready to battle as they clinched the doubles point in thrilling fashion. Virginia Tech took the first doubles match on court two as senior Audrey Ann Blakely and Lucas dropped a 6-3 decision. Pitt split the matches after sophomore Gabriela Rezende and freshman Jovana Knezevic turned in a 6-2 victory on court three. At No. 1 doubles, the team of Washington and junior Callie Frey outlasted the 55th-ranked team of Caroline Daxhelet and Francesca Fusinato, 7-5, en route to clinching the point. The match was tied on five separate occasions.
Entering singles with a 1-0 advantage, the Panthers soon fell behind as the Hokies won five-straight matches.
Lucas was the last match to conclude on the day as she won in a three-set thriller. The Valencia, Spain native was in the first set, falling short 7-5. In the second set, Lucas and Ghanem found themselves tied 4-4 after trading the lead. Lucas then went on to take the next two games for a 6-4 win. She started the tiebreaker strong, jumping out to a 7-3 lead. Ghanem worked her way back though to tie it 9-9 then took the first lead 10-9. Lucas bounced back to take the next two, locking up the match.
“It was a great win for Clara and the team,” Santos said. “It was definitely a step in the right direction for her as she showed some great tennis and fight.”
The Panthers resume action Friday, April 14 for their final home match of the season as they host Virginia for Senior Day. The conference dual is set to get underway at 4 p.m. at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Center.
1. #92 Francesca Fusinato (VT) def. Amber Washington (UP) 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
2. #104 Natalie Novotna (VT) def. Audrey Ann Blakely (UP) 6-1, 6-4
3. Elena Cerezo-Codina (VT) def. Gabriela Rezende (UP) 6-3, 6-0
4. Caroline Daxhelet (VT) def. Callie Frey (UP) 1-6, 6-1, 6-1
5. Clara Lucas (UP) def. Nancy Ghanem (VT) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (12-10)
6. Sansitha Nandakumar (VT) def. Natsumi Okamoto (UP) 6-1, 6-4
1. Amber Washington/Callie Frey (UP) def. #55 Caroline Daxhelet/Francesca Fusinato (VT) 7-5
2. Elena Cerezo-Codina/Natalie Novotna (VT) def. Audrey Ann Blakely/Clara Lucas (UP) 6-3
3. Gabriela Rezende/Jovana Knezevic (UP) def. Katherine Butler/Shene Disbergen (VT) 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,2,1,4,6,5)
Hokies Outlast Panthers in Conference Action

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