Strong singles play boosts Tarleton over Grand Canyon for 8th win in 9 matches

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PHOENIX – Last year’s top two tennis programs in the Western Athletic Conference squared off on Friday, but Tarleton left no mistake on how the conference stands this year with a commanding road victory.

The Texans beat Grand Canyon 4-2 at the GCU Tennis Facility in Phoenix for their eighth win in the last nine matches, improving to 9-3 on the year. This was GCU’s first home match of the season, falling to 2-3 overall.

The ‘Lopes and Texans were Nos. 1-2 in the WAC standings in 2020-21, with Grand Canyon finishing 6-0 in conference play, Tarleton 5-1. This year, there’s a clear new No. 1, with no other team within two matches in the standings of the Texans, championed with Tarleton’s dominance against fellow WAC teams GCU and UTRGV (7-0 win on Feb. 20) already this year.

The ‘Lopes started their home opener with the doubles point, as they took the Nos. 1 and 2 position matches. Tarleton’s top pair of Deniza Marcinkevica and Jemi Aguilar lost 3-6 to Natasha Puehse and Santa Strombacha, and Faustine Palatte and Celia Vaudiau lost 3-6 to Autum Prudhomme and Fabienne Schmidt at No. 2. Tarleton did get a win in the No. 3 position, with Martha Makantasi and Elsa Boisson defeating Valentina Del Marco and Sara Rakim 6-4 to improve to 8-3 together in 2021-22.
In singles, it was all Tarleton. The Texans won the first set in five of the six singles matches, including a 6-0 shutout by Aguilar over Schmidt at No. 2. Four points in straight-set fashion went to the Tarleton team score at the Nos. 2-5 positions.

Aguilar completed the first match with her 6-0, 6-3 win over Schmidt, marking her fourth consecutive victory to improve to 5-4, all at No. 2. Then the point at Court 4 went to the Texans thanks to Boisson’s 6-3, 6-2 win over Prudhomme. Boisson improved to 9-3 with the victory, 7-3 at No. 4.

Vaudiau cruised once again, winning her 10th straight singles match, this one over Jana Weiss 6-4, 6-1. Vaudiau is 10-1 overall, 8-1 at No. 5, with seven straight wins in straight sets fashion.

Next was Makantasi with the team clinching victory, courtesy of a 6-3, 7-5 win over Strombacha at No. 3. Makantasi is now 9-3 overall, 7-3 at No. 3, a winner of nine of her last 10 matches.

Natalia Komar battled at the No. 6 position, but fell to Del Marco 6-3, 1-6, 2-6. Marcinkevica had a great match going with Puehse at No. 1, ahead 4-6, 6-4, 4-2, before the match was discontinued due to weather and the team victory already decided.

Tarleton will stay put in Phoenix for a match against the Dixie State Trailblazers at the GCU Tennis Facility on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. Dixie State is 1-9, getting their first win against NAIA Arizona Christian earlier Friday. It was part of a doubleheader, with the Trailblazers taking on NAIA Ottawa (AZ) in Surprise, Arizona, Friday night.

If Tarleton beats Dixie State on Saturday, it would be their fastest run to 10 match wins in a season since 2013-14.

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