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No. 18 Wellesley edges women's tennis in tourney opener, 5-4

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- No. 18 nationally ranked Wellesley erased a 2-1 deficit after doubles play to defeat the 30th-ranked Bates women's tennis team on Friday, in the first round of the eight-team Nor'Easter Bowl.

One of six nationally ranked teams in the tournament, Bates is the sixth seed. The Bobcats (7-5) will play MIT in the second round of the tournament on Saturday at 2pm at Brandeis University, in a rematch of the Bobcats' 6-3 win over the Engineers on March 17.

The host Blue (12-2), seeded third in the tournament, fell behind in the first round of the match. Bates got on the board first as junior Jacqui Holmes (Harvard, Mass.) and sophomore Lucy Brennan (Wellesley, Mass.) topped Melissa Clark and Joyce Chen, 8-3, in third doubles. Wellesley tied the match, 1-1, with a win at two, where Diana Granger and Erica Choo were 8-6 winners over juniors Ashley Brunk (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Nicole Russell (Boca Raton, Fla.). The Bobcats then crept ahead, 2-1, after coming out on top in the first doubles flight. First-year Elena Mandzhukova (Lisbon, Portugal) and senior Meg Anderson (Cohasset, Mass.) battled into a tiebreaker against Wellesley’s Marie Watanabe and Sojung Lee, eventually taking the match 9-8 (10-8).

In singles play, Wellesley evened the match at 2-2, as Clark topped Holmes, 6-0, 6-1 in the third flight. Granger then put Wellesley ahead 3-2 with a 6-2, 6-1, win over Blauth in the fourth spot. Bates battled back to even the match at 3-3, as Mandzhukova topped Watanabe, 6-4, 6-2 at one.

Bates’ Brunk and Wellesley’s Lee then traded victories to knot the match at 4-4. Brunk picked up a 7-6 (1), 6-4, victory over Kendall Tada at six, while Lee gritted out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, victory over Brennan at five.

With the match tied at 4-4, the second flight battle between Wellesley’s Choo and Bates’ Anderson went to a deciding third set. Choo took the first set, 6-3, before Anderson won the second, 7-6 (5). Choo then came out on top in the third set by a score of 6-4, earning the win and handing the team victory to Wellesley.

Wellesley 5, Bates 4
(at Wellesley)

1. Elena Mandzhukova/Meg Anderson (BATES) def. Marie Watanabe/Sojung Lee (WEL), 9-8 (8)
2. Diana Granger/Erica Choo (WEL) def. Ashley Brunk/Nicole Russell (BATES), 8-6
3. Jacqui Holmes/Lucy Brennan (BATES) def. Melissa Clark/Erica Choo (WEL), 8-3

1. Elena Mandzhukova (BATES), def. Marie Watanabe (WEL), 6-4, 6-2
2. Erica Choo (WEL) def. Meg Anderson (BATES), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4
3. Melissa Clark (WEL) def. Jacqui Holmes (BATES), 6-0, 6-1
4. Diana Granger (WEL) def. Erika Blauth (BATES), 6-2, 6-1
5. Sojung Lee (WEL) def. Lucy Brennan (BATES), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
6. Ashley Brunk (BATES) def. Kendall Tada (WEL), 7-6 (1), 6-4