Tennis Opens Fall Schedule at Rice (Nicolau wins)

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The Houston Cougar Women’s Tennis team kicks off the 2017 fall season with a trip across town to the Rice Invitational, to be held Sept. 22-24 at the George R. Brown Tennis Center on the campus of Rice Invitational.

The Rice Invitational will consist of tournament style play with singles and doubles teams divided into flights of three rounds each. Draws for the Rice Invitational will be released prior to the start of the tournament.

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The fall season began with doubles play, where Houston picked up its first win of the season from senior Sveva Mazzari and sophomore Lauren Alter. Playing in flight three, the duo picked up a 6-1 victory over Petchey/Hollebeck (SMU). The win for the Cougars advances Mazzari and Alter to face Niezgoda/Moenster (Rice) on Saturday.

The Cougars picked up three victories in singles play on Friday, beginning with Dimitrova in flight one. Matched up against Agustina Serio (UTA), Dimitrova tallied a straight-set victory at 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the flight. Dimitrova will meet Lindsey Hodge (Rice) Saturday morning.

Nicolaou was able to advance to flight seven’s second round with a straight-set win over Klara Mrclela (UTA). Nicolaou and Mrclela battled to a tiebreaker in the first set, with Nicolaou prevailing 7-6 (4), before responding with a 6-2 victory in the second set to seal the match. Nicolaou advances to meet Carrie Casey (SHSU) on Saturday.

Bernardos made an immediate impact for the Cougars in her first competition while donning the Red and White. Playing in flight eight, Bernardos took the first set 6-4 over Alex Jones (Texas State). Jones would respond with a 6-3 victory in the second set, but Bernardos was able to rebound and win set three 6-2 to seal her first-career singles win. Bernardos moves on to face Mila Milanovic (SHSU) in the second round of the flight.

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Dimitrova booked her spot in the flight one singles finals with a straight-set victory over Lindsey Hodge (Rice). In a pair of sets that went down to the wire, Dimitrova edged her cross-town rival 6-4, 7-5 to advance and face Janet Koch (Kansas) in Sunday’s final.

Nicolaou picked up her second victory of the weekend while competing in flight seven against Carrie Casey (SHSU). Nicolaou claimed the first set 6-2, but Casey battled back to even the match with a 7-5 win in the second set. Nicolaou left no doubt in the final set with a 6-1 victory to seal the match and advance to the finals against Haruka Sasaki (UNT). On Sunday.

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Nicolaou booked a slot in the flight seven finals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Carrie Casey (SHSU) on Saturday, and was back in action Sunday to face Haruka Sasaki (UNT). Nicolaou controlled the entire match, racing to a 6-2 win in the first set before sealing the match with a 6-1 mark in the second. The victory gave Nicolaou a perfect 3-0 record in her first fall tournament with the Cougars.

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