CLAREMONT, CALIF. – In the final match of an incredibly long day at the 2018 NCAA individual championships, the Tufts University women's tennis doubles duo of juniors Mina Karamercan and Otilia Popa took the #3 pair in the draw from Emory University to the limit before losing 7-5, 7-6 (2) on Thursday.
Karamercan also won an NCAA singles match on Thursday before she was eliminated in the second round.
Playing in the opening doubles round of 16, the unseeded Karamercan and Popa battled Emory's Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico and Bridget Harding. The Eagles' pair was the third seed in the NCAA doubles bracket and was ranked #2 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) doubles rankings back in the fall. The Emory players advance into the NCAA quarterfinals on Friday.
Playing at Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, California, Thursday's match did not end until early Friday morning (12:56 a.m.) in the East.
The Tufts doubles duo and Emory had played a close 8-6 match during the regular-season with Gonzalez-Rico and Harding winning. Thursday, played to best two out of three, was even closer. Tufts had a 5-4 lead in the first set before Emory won the final three sets. Tufts opened the second set by winning four straight games before the Eagles rallied late to tie the score at 5-5. Tufts took a 6-5 lead, but Emory forced a tie-breaker and won it 7-2.
In her first singles match today, Karamercan earned a 6-1, 6-4 straight-set win over Grace Deering from Washington University in St. Louis. That advanced Tufts' junior to the round of 16, where she lost to Williams College's Juli Raventos 6-3, 6-4.
This was Karamercan's third straight year playing at the NCAA singles and doubles championships. The win over Deering, who was the #1 player for the Bears and ranked #18 in the ITA fall national rankings, was Karamercan's first-ever victory in NCAA singles competition. She played only in doubles as a freshman and lost her round-of-32 singles match last season. She and teammate Lauren Louks advanced to the NCAA doubles quarterfinals before losing two years ago in 2016.
Karamercan made quick work of Deering on Thursday, winning five straight games in her first set and then overcoming a 2-0 deficit to win the second set. In the match against Raventos, a familiar foe for Karamercan and ranked 15th nationally, they were tied 3-3 in both matches before the Eph player was able to finish strong.
This was the final day of competition for the Tufts University women's tennis team in 2017-18.