Ahmed Wins Three Set Thriller To Clinch 4-3 Win
April 4, 2013
By Stephanie Juncker
By Stephanie Juncker
FRESNO, Calif. --- With her teammates watching and the team score tied at three, Bulldog freshman Rana Sherif Ahmed clinched Fresno State's second Mountain West win in three sets at the top spot, to give the No. 60 women's tennis team a 4-3 victory over Wyoming Thursday afternoon at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center.
"Today's match was a great battle to say the least," said first-year head coach Ryan Stotland. "Our underclassmen did a great job today of keeping their nerves under control and holding the pressure. Rana came in there and knew it was for the match and beat a girl who has been ranked high in the country."
The 'Dogs started off the afternoon by winning the critical doubles point. Olga Kirpicheva and Aishwarya Agrawal were first to win as they defeated Jessica Parizher and Silviya Zhelyazkova 8-5 on court three. The Cowgirls even doubles taking the top spot 8-5. Clinching the doubles point was the duo of Sophie Watts and Bianca Modoc who bounced back from being down 5-6, to take the final three games for the 8-6 victory which was capped off by two straight slams by Modoc at the net.
Watts came off clinching the doubles point to dominate in singles winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4 for her 10th dual match win of the season, which is a team best. Wyoming got on the scoreboard as Alexandra Kovacs barely edged McQueen 6-4, 6-4 on court three.
Agrawal picked up her second win of the day and put the Bulldogs ahead 3-1 as she defeated Simona Synkova 6-4, 6-4 at the two spot. The Cowgirls wouldn't go away as Parizher pulled the Cowgirls within one winning 6-3, 6-4 at No. 5. Silviya Zhelyazkova then tied the match at 3-3 winning 6-4, 6-2 on court six.
The final match came down to the top spot on which the Bulldog freshman from Cairo, Egypt showed her resiliency to win for the team. Ahmed captured the first set in a 7-4 tiebreaker but then fell 2-6 in the second set. By the time the third set was to begin all the other matches were completed and all eyes were on court one.
"Losing the second set and then going to the third against a top player is tough," Stotland said. "Rana showed a tremendous amount of guts for going after her shots and playing to win. It's not always about the tennis, but who really wants it more and she proved today that she really believed in herself."
The third set began with a game that went to a least five deuce points before Popovici was able to break Ahmed's serve. The freshman fired right back at the junior from Romania and took two straight games. Ahmed never looked back as she held serve for the rest of the third set while breaking Popovici twice to win the final set 6-2.
"In the second set I was playing much better and it was tight and I lost I think because of the pressure," Ahmed said. "But in the third set because of my team with me I won. I was so happy with the team and they were there for me."
In the first season in the Mountain West, the Bulldogs are now 2-0 in conference play with six regular season MW matches remaining.
The 'Dogs are back in action tomorrow against Air Force at 1:30 p.m. and again on Saturday for Senior Day at 1 p.m. versus Colorado State.
#60 Fresno State 4, University of Wyoming 3
1. Rana Sherif Ahmed (FS) def. Veronica Popovici (WYO) 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2
2. Aishwarya Agrawal (FS) def. Simona Synkova (WYO) 6-4, 6-4
3. Alexandra Kovacs (WYO) def. Melissa McQueen (FS) 6-4, 6-4
4. Sophie Watts (FS) def. Sasa Nemcova (WYO) 6-1, 6-2
5. Jessica Parizher (WYO) def. Bianca Modoc (FS) 6-3, 6-4
6. Silviya Zhelyazkova (WYO) def. Anneka Watts (FS) 6-4, 6-2
1. Veronica Popovici/Simona Synkova (WYO) def. Melissa McQueen/Rana Sherif Ahmed (FS) 8-4
2. Bianca Modoc/Sophie Watts (FS) def. Alexandra Kovacs/Sasa Nemcova (WYO) 8-6
3. Olga Kirpicheva/Aishwarya Agrawal (FS) def. Jessica Parizher/Silviya Zhelyazkova (WYO) 8-5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,3,2,5,6,1)
"Discover Fresno State Athletics" - All Fresno State home tennis matches can be followed with live results on gobulldogs.com.