Women's Tennis Nearly Upsets #50 Princeton, 4-3
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

NEW YORK - The Columbia women's tennis team nearly upended #50 Princeton Friday, but ending up falling by a close score of 4-3. Princeton won the doubles point to take an early lead, and the Lions could not fully recover. 

In doubles, Tiana Takenaga and Nicole Bartnik lost 8-3 in the No.1 doubles spot, while Katarina Kovacevic and Ioana Alecsiu fell, 8-5. In the No.3 doubles spot, Columbia was represented by the two graduating seniors, Natalia Christeson and Natasha Makarova, playing in their last match in the Dick Savitt Tennis Center. The two had the longest match of the doubles point, and put up a good fight, but ended up falling, 8-4. 

Despite being in a 1-0 hole, the Lions continued to put up a fight in singles. Columbia sophomore Chelsea Davies tied the team match up at 1-1, as she had a quick win in the No.2 singles spot, beating Alexa Krakaris, 6-2, 6-1. But Princeton would take the lead again, when first-year Tiana Takenaga fell to Katherine Flanigan at No.5, 6-2, 6-2. Princeton’s Hilary Bartlett had a win over sophomore Nicole Bartnik in the No.1 singles spot, 6-3, 6-1, to put Princeton up 3-1 on the Lions, and the Tigers were just one point from clinching the team win. 

Princeton would get that win in the No.3 singles spot, where senior Natasha Makarova put up a strong fight, but couldn’t pull it out. Makarova lost to Taylor Marable, 6-3, 7-6, giving Princeton its fourth point, which was enough to clinch the team win. 

But the Lions weren’t done fighting. Two matches were still going on, in the Nos. 2 and 4 singles spots. Sophomore Katarina Kovacevic had a huge rally in the No.2 spot. There, Rachel Saiontz won the first set, 6-2, but was flustered when Kovacevic battled back to take the second set, 7-5. With Saiontz on her heels and the momentum on Columbia’s side of the net, Kovacevic pulled it out, winning the third set, 6-2, and giving Columbia a point at 4-2. 

Just moments later, first-year Ioana Alecsiu made it 4-3, when she beat Monica Chow in the No.4 singles spot. After dropping the first set, Alecsiu rallied back to take the second set, 6-4. Since the match was already determined when Alecsiu won the second set, the two played a tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. And Alecsiu dominated the tiebreaker, winning 10-2 to take the match. 

With the team loss, the Lions are 9-12 overall and 0-6 in the Ivy League. Columbia has one match remaining in the 2011 season, as the Lions will head to Philadelphia to close out the season against Penn, Sunday, April 17 at 12 p.m.

#50 Princeton 4, Columbia 3


1. Taylor Marable/Hilary Bartlett (PRIN) def. Tiana Takenaga/Nicole Bartnik (COL) 8-3
2. Rachel Saiontz/Monica Chow (PRIN) def. Katarina Kovacevic/Ioana Alecsiu (COL) 8-5
3. Alexa Krakaris/Katherine Flanigan (PRIN) def. Natalia Christenson/Natasha Makarova (COL) 8-4

Order of finish: 1, 2*, 3


1. Hilary Bartlett (PRIN) def. Nicole Bartnik (COL) 6-3, 6-1
2. Katarina Kovacevic (COL) def. Rachel Saiontz (PRIN) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
3. Taylor Marable (PRIN) def. Natasha Makarova (COL) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Ioana Alecsiu (COL) def. Monica Chow (PRIN) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-2)
5. Katherine Flanigan (PRIN) def. Tiana Takenaga (COL) 6-2, 6-2
6. Chelsea Davis (COL) def. Alexa Krakaris (PRIN) 6-2, 6-1

Order of finish: 6, 5, 1, 3*, 2, 4