Elon Tops Drexel, Advances to CAA Women’s Tennis Championship Semifinals

ELON, N.C. – Alex Koniaev claimed the match-clinching point on court five to propel No. 4 seed Elon University women’s tennis to a 4-1 victory over No. 5 seed Drexel and punch its ticket to the semifinals of the 2019 CAA Women’s Tennis Championships on Thursday, April 18, at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center.

After a hard-fought doubles victory and a response from the Dragons at the start of singles, the Phoenix stringed together three straight singles wins to claim the quarterfinal win.

Elon will face the top-seeded William & Mary Tribe in the CAA Championship semifinals on Friday morning at 9 a.m. The conference semifinal matches have been moved indoors to the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center and will start an hour earlier due to inclement weather in Friday’s forecast for the Triad region. The Tribe defeated No. 8 seed UNCW 4-0 in its quarterfinal match.

The Phoenix improved its overall mark to 13-11 with its second straight victory. Drexel concludes its 2019 season with a 10-11 overall record after the CAA Championship quarterfinal exit.

Elon earned a tightly-contested doubles point to take the early 1-0 advantage. Koniaev and Maria Paraja got things rolling to start doubles action as the tandem cruised to a 6-1 victory over Anisiya Simpson and Salma Ziouti at the No. 1 position. The remaining two doubles matches would go down to the wire to determine the winner.

Drexel’s duo of Katarina Majorova and Marta Martinez fought back from a 5-2 deficit on court three to force a tiebreaker with the match level at 6-6 against Suzanne Zenoni and Olivia Archer. Elon’s Uma Nayar and Nicole Shiau launched a comeback of their own on court two coming back from a 3-4 hole to take a 6-5 advantage at the No. 2 position as court three was in the middle of its tiebreaker.

Facing match point trailing 5-6 in the tiebreak, Zenoni and Archer rallied and won three straight points to claim the doubles-point clinching 7-6 (8-6) victory on court three.

In singles action, Drexel provided the first result as Ziouti’s 6-2, 6-0 victory on the top court leveled the match at 1-1. Not long after, Archer’s 16th singles win of the season on court three gave the Phoenix the lead right back. She topped Majorova 6-1, 6-3 to provide Elon with the 2-1 advantage.

Paraja then extended Elon’s lead to 3-1 as she responded after a second-set loss to earn a three-set 6-2, 1-6, 6-0 win over Ghita Benhadi. Undaunted after falling in her first set, Koniaev would come back to clinch Elon’s quarterfinal victory and secure Elon’s 4-1 win with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Simpson.

When the match was finished, Nayar’s match on court four was nearly at its conclusion as she held a 6-4, 4-6, 5-3 advantage against Martinez. Shiau was looking to force a third set in her matchup on court six as she held a 5-3 advantage in the second set.

– Elon advances to the semifinals of the CAA Championships for the fifth consecutive year and in a conference tournament for the seventh straight season.
– With its 4-1 win over Drexel, the Phoenix has now defeated the Dragons in two consecutive CAA Championship quarterfinal contests. Elon is also 4-0 all-time against the Dragons, which have all been in CAA Championship quarterfinal matchups.
– Olivia Archer’s 16 dual match singles wins this season is tied for the sixth-most in program history for a single season.

The Phoenix faces the No. 1 seed William & Mary Tribe on Friday morning, April 19, at 9 a.m. inside the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center in Greensboro.

Elon 4, Drexel 1
Apr 18, 2019 at Elon, N.C. (Jimmy Powell Tennis Center)

Singles competition
1. Salma Ziouti (DREXEL) def. Suzanne Zenoni (ELON) 6-2, 6-0
2. Maria Paraja (ELON) def. Ghita Benhadi (DREXEL) 6-2, 1-6, 6-0
3. Olivia Archer (ELON) def. Katarina Majorova (DREXEL) 6-1, 6-3
4. Uma Nayar (ELON) vs. Marta Martinez (DREXEL) 6-4, 4-6, 5-3, unfinished
5. Alex Koniaev (ELON) def. Anisiya Simpson (DREXEL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Nicole Shiau (ELON) vs. Cristina Gonzalez (DREXEL) 6-7 (7-9), 5-3, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. Alex Koniaev/Maria Paraja (ELON) def. Anisiya Simpson/Salma Ziouti (DREXEL) 6-1
2. Uma Nayar/Nicole Shiau (ELON) vs. Ghita Benhadi/Cristina Gonzalez (DREXEL) 6-5, unfinished
3. Suzanne Zenoni/Olivia Archer (ELON) def. Katarina Majorova/Marta Martinez (DREXEL) 7-6 (8-6)

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,3,2,5)
Elon is the No. 4 seed
Drexel is the No. 5 seed

— ELON —