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Clemson women’s tennis defeats Notre Dame for first spring ACC win

Max Knipstein, Contributor

Clemson women’s tennis player Cristina Mayorova rallies against Louisville on March 13, 2022.

Clemson women’s tennis defeated No. 35 Notre Dame on Friday, March 11, giving head coach Christy Lynch her highest-ranked victory. 

Cristina Mayorova and Daniella Medvedeva led doubles for the Tigers against Notre Dame’s Paige Freeman and Maria Olivia Castedo.  

After getting down 4-1, Mayorova and Medvedeva started to find their rhythm. Medvedeva hit a deep return, which set up a cross court winner at 3-4, which seemed like an opening for the team to make a comeback. However, Notre Dame’s Freeman and Castedo stayed aggressive at the net and capitalized on their opportunities, clinching the match, 6-3.  

On court three of doubles, Clemson’s Eleni Louka and Lana Sipek faced Notre Dame’s Carrie Beckman and Nibedita Ghosh. 

Louka and Sipek blazed to a 5-2 start. Sipek was mixing up her serve placement and putting pressure on Notre Dame’s Beckman and Ghosh at the net. However, the momentum started to shift at 5-2, when Beckman and Ghosh started to move forward at the net and looked for openings to put volleys away. The Fighting Irish made a comeback from 5-2, ultimately winning the match, 7-5. 

As the Tigers headed to singles play, the Fighting Irish led 1-0. 

As afternoon turned to evening, the Tigers came out with an unmatched team spirit that magnified as the night progressed.  

Clemson’s Samantha Buyckx led the Tigers to their first singles win of the evening, winning her match over Notre Dame’s Carrie Beckman, 6-1, 6-3. Buyckx dictated the rallies throughout the match, but she also anticipated well and played an equally impressive defense when needed. 

Clemson’s Daniella Medvedeva played Notre Dame’s Yashna Yellayi. From the early stages of the match, Medvedeva controlled the rallies and did well breaking Yellayi’s lefty patterns. Medvedeva secured the second win for the Tigers, 6-2, 6-0. 

Meanwhile, Clemson’s Cristina Mayorova and Alexandra Anttila kept their matches closely contested, but both lost in straight sets.  

At this point in the evening, Notre Dame led 3-2 on the Tigers, as the last two matches both went into deciding sets. 

Clemson’s Eleni Louka faced Notre Dame’s Julia Andreach. Louka lost the first set 6-3, but fought her way back into the match, narrowly grabbing the second set, 6-4. The crowd was rallying for the Tigers and Louka’s performance elevated to an entirely new level in the third set.  

Down 1-2, Louka hit a whipping, angled forehand cross court to level the score. After leveling the match at 2-2, Louka won the third set with ease, clinching the match, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. 

The Tigers and the Fighting Irish were now tied at 3-3 with one match still in progress. 

Clemson’s Ali Despain faced Notre Dame’s Nibedita Ghosh. After Despain won the first set 6-4, she dropped the second set, 4-6. Despain came out to an early lead in the third set, 4-2, but Ghosh found a way to level the score at 4-4.  

With the crowd roaring and the team chanting on the edges of the court, Despain broke Ghosh’s serve to gain a 5-4 lead. 

However, rain started to fall and the match moved indoors. Despain and Ghosh headed indoors to determine who would come out on top, the Tigers or the Fighting Irish.  

Despain’s momentum and consistency continued as she went up quickly in the final game and kept her composure to close out the match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.  

Despain clinched the deciding point for the Tigers to win the match over Notre Dame, 4-3. 

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