May 24, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. – After earning a Round of 16 berth in singles, Nina Secerbegovic joined Ema Burgic to take down the No. 1 seed in doubles at the NCAA Individual Championships on Thursday in Athens, Ga.
Secerbegovic, who reached her third straight Round of 16 at the singles event, was the lone winner on the day for Baylor in singles with seniors Diana Nakic and Sona Novakova each bowing out with a loss. Secerbegovic then returned to the courts in doubles and paired with Ema Burgic to stun No. 1-seeded Allie Will and Sofie Oyen of Florida in straight sets.
“Today's matches were bittersweet,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “For Sona and Diana it was their last day competing in a Baylor uniform which was very difficult. We appreciate all that they’ve done for our program. We would not have reached the level of success we have these past two years without them. They are everything you could want from a student-athlete and will be great ambassadors for Baylor University.”
In singles, the 23rd-ranked Secerbegovic was in a tough contest against Tennessee’s No. 32 Brynn Boren, who won the first set in a tiebreak 7-6(5). In the second set, Secerbegovic was able to get a late break for just enough separation for a 7-5 win, then did the same in the third set to win 6-4. The win also secures Secerbegovic her third consecutive All-America honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association given to those who reach at least the NCAA Round of 16. She will face 26th-ranked Sabrina Santamaria at 10:30 a.m. CT with a chance to reach the quarterfinals for the third straight season.
“Nina is as tough as them come,” Scrivano said. “She found a way to win against a great player today. Nina never gave up and kept fighting when things weren't going her way.”
In doubles, the Baylor pair kept a one-game advantage throughout the set, getting a late break to win it 7-5. Then in the second set, the Lady Bears took it to the Gators with a dominating 6-2 effort to finish the upset. The win is the duo’s third of the year over a top-five opponent. Secerbegovic and Burgic will now take on Alabama’s Alex Guarachi and Courtney Lane at 3:30 p.m. CT.
“Ema and Nina did a great job of executing and competing,” Scrivano said. “They played very focused and together tonight. Their spirit was excellent.”
Nakic, seeded in the 9-16 range in singles play, got off to a good start with 6-3 first-set win over Kansas State’s 29th-ranked Petra Niedermayerova, but couldn’t hang on. Niedermayerova was able to come back and win the final two sets 6-4, 6-2.
Novakova, who also reached the Round of 32, faced sixth-seeded Jana Juricova of California. Juricova seized the momentum early on the way to a 6-4, 6-1 win.
Secerbegovic and Burgic will be the lone Lady Bears still in action on Friday in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.