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Jain Clinches ITA Kickoff Weekend Opener, 4-3

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Georgia Tech rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take the opening match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, 4-3, against No. 24 Wisconsin on Friday afternoon at the Boar’s Head Sports Club. With the win, the Yellow Jackets advance to the championship match to face host and No. 11 Virginia for a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

Georgia Tech gained momentum quickly in doubles to take the point and early match lead. Given Roach and Scarlett Nicholson teamed up on court three to dominate Xinyu Cai and Kaja Jacobson. The pair dropped the first two games of the match, but won the next six to take the win, 6-2. Tech clinched the doubles point on court two where Kylie Bilchev and Alejandra Cruz pocketed a 6-4 win over Taylor Cataldi and Ariel Johnson. The teams were tied at 2-2 before the Jackets grabbed the lead and never looked back. Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura led 5-4 on court one when the point was clinched.

Wisconsin quickly erased its deficit and won the first three singles matches to take the lead, 3-1. Alina Mukhortova evened the match at 1-all from court two where the Badger edged Bilchev, 6-4, 6-3, before Wisconsin took its first lead with a win on three. As Cruz battled Cataldi on court three, the Badger took control out of the gate and pocketed the match, 6-3, 6-4.

The Badgers cushioned their lead with a straight-set decision on court four as Cai defeated Roach, 6-3, 6-2, for a 3-1 match lead before Georgia Tech began to rally back.

Competing at the top court, Lee snapped the Wisconsin momentum, cruising to a straight-set win over Maria Sholokova. Lee trailed early in the first set, 3-4, but responded to even the opening set at 5-all. Knotted at 6-6, Lee led in the tiebreak 3-2, and continued to hold the advantage to take the opener, 7-6 (7-4). The Jacket carried momentum into the second set and sealed the win, 7-6 (4), 6-3, to setup a 3-2 match score.

All eyes turned to courts five and six where Georgia Tech needed both to clinch the match. Court six wrapped up first as Nicholson captured a pair of tiebreak sets to down Rosie Garcia Gross. In the first set, Nicholson trailed 5-2, but won the next three games to even the set at 5-all. The opponents traded games to force a tiebreak at 6-6. Nicholson held the slight edge to pull out the first set, 7-6 (7-5). It was a back-and-forth battle in the second set as Nicholson and Garcia Gross traded games to a 5-5 standstill. The Badger would take the lead at 6-5, but the Jacket fought off set point to force another tiebreak at 6-6. Nicholson continued to battle in the tiebreak, pulling out the win 7-6 (8-6), to tie the match at 3-3.

The match would be decided on court five where Mahak Jain took on Johnson. Jain and Johnson traded the first two sets, 6-4, 2-6, to force a deciding third set. The Jacket jumped out with a 4-1 lead in the final set, but Johnson rallied back to take a 6-5 advantage. Jain served out the next game at 40-0, leaving the match to be decided in a tiebreak. Jain fell into an early deficit in the tiebreak, 6-3, but fought off five match points to an 8-8 tally. Jain won the next two points to clinch the match, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8).

Georgia Tech will square off against No. 11 Virginia on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the championship match. The winner will earn an automatic berth to the 16-team field at the 37th annual ITA National Team Indoor Championships, Feb. 9-12, in Seattle, Wash.

1.Carol Lee/Kate Sharabura (GT) vs. No. 50 Alina Mukortova/Maria Sholokova (WIS) 5-4, DNF
2. Kylie Bilchev/Alejandra Cruz (GT) def. Taylor Cataldi/Ariel Johnson (WIS) 6-4*
3. Given Roach/Scarlett Nicholson (GT) def. Xinyu Cai/Kaja Jacobsen (WIS) 6-2
Order of finish: 3,2*

1.No. 107 Carol Lee (GT) def. No. 67 Maria Sholokhova (WIS) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
2. Alina Mukhortova (WIS) def. No. 123 Kylie Bilchev (GT) 6-4, 6-3
3. Taylor Cataldi (WIS) def. Alejandra Cruz (GT) 6-3, 6-4
4. No. 87 Xinyu Cai (WIS) def. Given Roach (GT) 6-3, 6-2
5. Mahak Jain (GT) def. Kaja Johnson (WIS) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8)*
6. Scarlett Nicholson (GT) def. Rosie Garcia Gross (WIS) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6)
Order of finish: 2,3,4,1,6,5*


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