Jul 20, 2019

‘AP’ delivers at Classic

Anastasia Petukhova returns a backhand during a match at the Bulldog Class, Saturday at the Wathen Tennis Center.  Petukhova was the tournament champion and will compete at the All-American Tournament in Lost Angeles.
Shaun Ho / The Collegian

Still clutching her racket, Anastasia Petukhova threw her arms up in victory after defeating Fresno Pacific’s Anna Karavayeva in two sets at the Bulldog Classic on Sunday.

Petukhova, who came into the season’s first tournament seeded No. 2, only gave up four games to Karavayeva in her 6-3, 6-1 win.

“It was a big win after three days of fighting,” Petukhova said. “I’m just enjoying the moment.”

Petukhova, nicknamed “AP” by her teammates, is currently ranked No. 47 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Women’s tennis coach Simon Thibodeau said that Petukhova, a sophomore, probably would have been ranked higher, but she only started playing for the Bulldogs in January 2007.
He was not surprised by her win at the Bulldog Classic.

“It’s a tournament that was winnable for her,” Thibodeau said. “She’s 47 right now, but I know she’s much better than that.”

Petukhova never dropped a set in the entire tournament. She prepared for the final match by studying Karavayeva in her defeat of fellow Bulldog Renata Kucerkova in Saturday night’s quarterfinals.

Kucerkova was seeded No. 1 coming into the Classic. After losing the first set and winning the second, she looked poised for victory during the third set when she was up 5-1, but Karavayeva came from behind and defeated her 6-7.

“I learned that the match is never done unless we shake hands,” Kucerkova said. “[Anything] can happen in tennis.”

Thibodeau called Kucerkova’s loss disappointing.

“[I give] the Russian girl that beat Renata…a lot of credit,” he said. “She fought really hard.”

Kucerkova and Petukhova also competed together in the doubles final on Sunday. The duo came into the tournament seeded No. 1, but soon found themselves down 7-1 to the No. 2 seed team of Carolline Bailly and Maria Mizyuk from the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Bulldogs fought back hard, but eventually lost the match 8-3.

“I just feel we gave it away a little bit,” Thibodeau said. “We need to perform better next time.”

Thibodeau said that the match was one of only a couple bad matches Kucerkova and Petukhova have ever played together.

Shaun Ho / The Collegian

“They can beat anyone in the country,” he said. “It’s just a matter of clicking that day together, in that moment.”

Another standout doubles team was Jacqueline Haskett and Tinesta Rowe, seeded No. 3. They defeated the 2006 Bulldog Classic winning doubles team, but lost in the semifinals 8-5 to eventual tournament winners Bailly and Mizyuk.

Senior Jacqueline Haskett celebrates after scoring a point during the Bulldog Classic on Saturday.
Shaun Ho / The Collegian

It was the first time Haskett and Rowe played together. Rowe is usually paired with team leader Melanie Gloria.

Gloria, ranked No. 3 in the nation, opted not to compete in the tournament because the Classic is mostly for players ranked 40-100.

Up next for the Bulldogs is the All-American Tournament, in which Gloria, Kucerkova and Petukhova will all be competing. Gloria lost in the final round of the tournament last year.

“It is one of my goals to make the main draw,” Petukhova said, of the All-American Tournament. “I have very, very good expectations for this season.”

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