TCU Doubles Tandem Set For NCAA Play

May 23, 2012

FORT WORTH – TCU doubles duo Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith open play Thursday in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships at Georgia’s Dan McGill Tennis Complex.

Ranked No. 42 in the nation, Nichols and Smith earned an automatic bid to the field of 32 after finishing as the highest-ranked tandem in the Mountain West. Automatic qualification into the Division I doubles championships was awarded to any conference with one or more eligible doubles teams ranked in the ITA Top 60 for eligible/entered doubles teams.

The tandem posted a 19-6 overall record as partners, including an 11-3 mark during the spring. Nichols and Smith face Virginia’s Emily Fraser and Lindsey Hardenbergh. The Cavalier duo is ranked No. 18 and is 9-3 overall and this spring.

Nichols and Smith put together a solid season that saw them climb up the rankings late in the year. At one point in the spring, the tandem was ranked No. 31 in the nation before injuries forced them to take a month off as doubles partners.

During the fall season, the pair won the USTA/ITA Texas Regional Championships in their first competitive matches as partners. For their efforts, they qualified for the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, NY.

In the spring, they bettered Wyoming’s No. 45-ranked duo of Veronia Popvici and Simona Synkova, as well as No. 33-ranked Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath. Currently, Nichols and Smith are riding a five-match winning streak.

Since the NCAA began sponsoring women’s tennis in 1986, a doubles team has represented TCU on 11 different occasions. Nichols and Smith mark TCU’s seventh time in the last eight years to advance a doubles squad to the field of 32.

During the fall and dual season, doubles matches are played in a pro-set format. All matches at the NCAA Doubles Championships are best-of-three tiebreak sets.