No. 21 Women's Tennis Takes Down FIU

ORLANDO – The 21st-ranked UCF women's tennis team (4-1) closed out its two-game homestand with a huge victory over FIU (3-2) on Tuesday night at the USTA National Campus, highlighted by freshman Stefani Webb's first collegiate match victory.
The Knights took a commanding start to the evening in doubles, securing a victory on court three from Nandini Sharma and Sophia Biolay, 6-1. The duo's first win of the spring season was instrumental in the fight for the doubles point, as FIU took court two moments later, bringing it all down to Marie Mattel and Noel Saidenova on court one. They faced their fourth ranked opponent of the season in Kamila Umarova and Ekaterina Khairutdinova, who are currently ranked No. 44 in the ITA Doubles poll. After a brief back-and-forth between the two teams, the Knights were able to pull out in front to secure the win, 6-4, earning them a doubles point for the first time since their home opener against Stetson. 
Once singles started, the Black and Gold kept applying pressure to the Panthers, not letting them get a lead at any point in time. No. 48 Mattel came out of the gate hot, taking the first set on court one quickly 6-1. The second set against Yasmine Kabbaj proved a bit more difficult, but Mattel was able to maintain her lead and win the second set 7-6 (5) to give the Knights a 2-0 lead. 
Not long after, Webb gave the Knights a dominating three-point lead on court three. After a tough collegiate debut against LSU, Webb showed up in a huge way for the squad. After dropping the first set 3-6 to Umarova, Webb was down 0-2 in the second. Not letting this deter her, she battled out the second set 6-3 to force a third, where she came out on top 6-4 to earn her first collegiate win of her career. 
Courts four and five finished within seconds of each other, with FIU taking both courts to creep back up into the match, now at 3-2. It all came down to courts two and six, both of which had entered their third sets. Senior Nandini Sharma showed why many refer to her as "the rock", winning her first set on court six 6-2. After narrowly dropping the second set 5-7, she remained consistent and powerful, putting the ball right out of reach of her opponent Salma Loudili. Sharma's energy brought her to her second win in a row, as well as the clinching point needed for the Knights to win the match 4-2. 
The match on court two went unfinished after Sharma clinched the match, just as Jantje Tilbuerger entered a third set against Khairutdinova after both sets being forced to go to tiebreakers. 
#21 UCF 4, FIU 2
Singles competition 
1. #48 Marie Mattel (UCF) def. Yasmine Kabbaj (FIU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Jantje Tilbuerger (UCF) vs. E. Khairutdinova (FIU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8), unfinished 3. Stefani Webb (UCF) def. Kamila Umarova (FIU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. Oyinlomo Quadre (FIU) def. Noel Saidenova (UCF) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
5. Katerina Mandelikova (FIU) def. Sophia Biolay (UCF) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
6. Nandini Sharma (UCF) def. Salma Loudili (FIU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 
Doubles competition 
1. Marie Mattel/Noel Saidenova (UCF) def. #44 E. Khairutdinova/Kamila Umarova (FIU) 6-4 
2. Yasmine Kabbaj/Oyinlomo Quadre (FIU) def. Jantje Tilbuerger/Stefani Webb (UCF) 5-2 
3. Sophia Biolay/Nandini Sharma (UCF) def. Salma Loudili/Katerina Mandelikova (FIU) 6-1 
Order of Finish
Doubles (3,2,1) Singles (1,3,5,4,6)
UP NEXT          
The Knights hit the road for the second time this season, traveling to No. 9 Vanderbilt on Friday, Feb. 17 and then No. 22 Tennessee on Sunday, Feb. 19.
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