Cowgirl Tennis Reaches Championship Match with 4-3 Win over Fresno State

April 25, 2015


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Behind another comeback win from senior Silviya Zhelyazkova, the Wyoming women's tennis team reached the championship match of the 2015 Mountain West Tournament with a 4-3 victory over top-seed and 49th ranked Fresno State Bulldogs, on Saturday afternoon, at the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium. It's the first time ever in school history, the program has reached the championship match. This was the fifth straight year the Cowgirls advanced to the semifinal match.

"This was one of the best tennis matches I have been a part of in my history of coaching or playing," head coach Dean Clower said. "The best thing is we won and did it with our style of tennis. We talked with the team about how we wanted this match to be a flat out fight and we would win it our way because that's who we are. Every person on this team competed their hearts out and deserve to have this victory. We will be ready tomorrow for the final match that I can promise you."

There was excitement from the beginning of the match which started in doubles action. The number two team of Sophie Watts and Anneka Watts opened up the day with a 6-4 win against Jessica Parizher and Magdelena Stencel. Wyoming answered back with a 7-5 victory by Dorottya Jonas and Silviya Zhelyazkova over Sofya Malysheva and Tanya Murtagh. The point would come down to the number one team of Alma Espinosa and Christa Gecheva. For the second straight day, they would need to win the tiebreaker 7-6 (9-7) to defeat Mairar Sherif Ahmed and Rana Sherif Ahmed to give Wyoming its first point of the day.

The Cowgirls increased the lead to 3-0 in singles play. Parizher needed three sets, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, in her match over Aishwarya Agrawal followed by Gecheva defeating Anneka Watts, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. The Bulldogs battled back with three straight wins. Maiar Sherif Ahmed lost the first set to Nastya Tokareva, 7-6 (7-5), but rallied back to win the next two 7-5, 6-1 to give Fresno State its first point of the day. Jonas won her opening set, 6-2, against Rana Sherif Ahmed unfortunately falling in the final two sets, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. At the number one spot, it was the fifth match to reach three sets between Sophie Watts and Stencel. The first set went to the redshirt freshman 7-6 (11-9) but Watts rallied back to win the next two 6-3, 7-5.

For the second straight day, the final match of the day came down to senior Silviya Zhelyazkova. Her opponent, Anne Susdorf, opened up the match with a 6-4 win followed by Zhelyazkova coming back in set two, 7-5. It went back and forth in the third set until Susdorf broke Zhelyazkova to take a 6-5 lead. The senior from Plovdiv, Bulgaria battled back to win the next game to send it into a tiebreaker. She stormed out to an early 3-0 lead and closed it out 7-3.

Wyoming will face the winner of the New Mexico/San Jose State winner from Saturday night. The match is set to begin at 2 p.m. MT. Live video and stats can be found on

Tennis Match Results
Wyoming vs Fresno State
Apr 25, 2015 at Albuquerque, NM
(McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium)

Wyoming 4, #49 Fresno State 3
Singles competition
1. #75 Sophie Watts (FS) def. Stencel, Magdalena (WYO) 6-7 (9-11), 6-3, 7-5
2. Maiar Sherif Ahmed (FS) def. Tokareva, Nastya (WYO) 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-1
3. Rana Sherif Ahmed (FS) def. Jonas, Dorottya (WYO) 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
4. Parizher, Jessica (WYO) def. Aishwarya Agrawal (FS) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
5. Gecheva, Christa (WYO) def. Anneka Watts (FS) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
6. Zhelyazkova, Silviya (WYO) def. Anne Susdorf (FS) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3)

Doubles competition
1. GECHEVA, Christa/ESPINOSA, Alma (WYO) def. Maiar Sherif Ahmed/Rana Sherif Ahmed (FS) 7-6 (9-7)
2. Sophie Watts/Anneka Watts (FS) def. PARIZHER, Jessica/STENCEL, Magdalena (WYO) 6-4
3. ZHELYAZKOVA, Silviya/JONAS, Dorottya (WYO) def. Sofya Malysheva/Tanya Murtagh (FS) 7-5

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,5,2,3,1,6)