SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --- The Tennessee State women’s tennis team kicked off two days of action at Missouri State with a number of strong performances on Friday at the Cooper Tennis Complex. TSU earned three singles victories versus Missouri State before picking up three doubles and six singles wins against Evangel University in the nightcap.
In early action against Missouri State, Zina Graves (Riverdale, Ga.) secured a hard-fought three set victory at the No. 1 position. Graves won the opening set, 6-4, before Missouri State’s Fati Khamissi battled back to take the second set by a 6-3 score. In the third, Graves played her way to a 10-8 victory to earn the win.
Also against the Bears, Ani Popiashvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) and Ashia Jones (Stone Mountain, Ga.) swept two-set singles matches. Popiashvili topped Alye Darter by a 6-4, 7-6 final, while Jones was a 6-3, 7-5 winner.
“The girls played pretty well against Missouri State,” TSU Head Coach Monroe Walker III said. “We didn’t have the energy to win and made too many errors. We have to stay positive when things are not going our way.”
“Ani (Popiashvili) played really well. She is following her game plan and not forcing anything,” Walker continued. "She continues to improve. Zina (Graves) is showing a lot of progress for a freshman. To play No. 1 and win over and over is impressive.”
The Tigers cruised versus Evangel, as the pairings of Graves/Abhilasha Viswanath (Bangalore, India), Popiashvili/Pragati Natraj (Bangalore, India) and Phoenix Gandy (Atlanta, Ga.)/Taylor Patterson (Munford, Tenn.) won in convincing fashion.
All six of TSU’s singles victories against Evangel came in straight sets highlighted by Popiashvili, Natraj and Gandy winning by identical 6-0, 6-0 margins.
“Great win,” Walker said. “I was impressed with how they responded after the first match. They came out focused and didn’t let up. Ani (Popiashvili) continues to play well, and everyone gave a better effort and it showed. Doubles were dominant and we are getting better each match.”
The Tigers return to action tomorrow at 10 a.m.
TSU vs. Missouri State
1. Fati Khamissi/Ekaterina Donetskova (MSU) vs. Taylor Patterson/Abhilasha Viswanath (TSU), unfinished, MSU led 4-3
2. Alye Darter/Phoebe Boeschen (MSU) def. Pragati Natraj/Ani Popiashvili (TSU), 6-1
3. Alexia Meyer/Abbey Belote (MSU) def. Ashia Jones/Zina Graves (TSU). 6-2
1. Zina Graves (TSU) def. Fati Khamissi (MSU), 6-4, 3-6, 10-8
2. Anelisse Torrico Moreno (MSU) def. Taylor Patterson (TSU), 6-0, 6-0
3. Ani Popiashvili (TSU) def. Alye Darter (MSU), 6-4, 7-5
4. Phoebe Boeschen (MSU) def. Abhilasha Viswanath (TSU), 6-3, 6-2
5. Alexia Meyer (MSU) def. Pragati Natraj (TSU), 7-6 (6), 6-3
6. Ekaterina Donetskova (MSU) def. Phyllicia Hemphill (TSU), 6-4, 6-2
7. Ashia Jones (TSU) def. Abbey Belote (MSU), 6-3, 7-5
TSU vs. Evangel
1. Zina Graves/Abhilasha Viswanath (TSU) def. Mairead Cleary (EU), 8-1
2. Ani Popiashvili/Pragati Natraj (TSU) def. Katie Kah/Shyanne Freeman (EU), 8-1
3. Phoenix Gandy/Taylor Patterson (TSU) def. Hannah Anderson/Emily Cook (EU), 8-2
1. Ani Popiashvili (TSU) def. Mairead Cleary (EU), 6-0, 6-0
2. Abhilasha Viswanath (TSU) def. Alina Schweizer (EU), 6-0, 6-2
3. Pragati Natraj (TSU) def. Katie Kah (EU), 6-0, 6-0
4. Ashia Jones (TSU) def. Hannah Anderson (EU), 6-1, 6-1
5. Phyllicia Hemphill (TSU) def. Shyanne Freeman (EU), 6-0, 6-1
6. Phoenix Gandy (TSU) def. Emily Cook (EU), 6-0, 6-0