Women's tennis overcomes flu, tops No. 42 Utah 4-3

Virginia posts comeback after trailing 3-0 due to illness-induced forfeits

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Despite having to forfeit a singles point and a doubles court due to multiple players coming down with the flu, the No. 5 Virginia women’s tennis team improved to 2-0 on the season Thursday night with a 4-3 win against No. 42 Utah.

The Utes took an early 3-0 lead in the match, largely due to an untimely bout of illness for the Cavaliers. A win at Court No. 1 by Utah senior Tereze Bekerova and freshman Margo Pletcher was enough to clinch the doubles point for the team from Salt Lake City since Virginia forfeited at No. 3. Another forfeit at No. 6 singles — the Cavaliers only had five players healthy enough to play — made it 2-0 for the Utes, a lead that then became 3-0 when Utah freshman Alexia Petrovic defeated Virginia junior Taylor Wingo (6-3, 6-3).

To win, the Cavaliers would need to clinch all four remaining singles points, and that is exactly what they did. First, on the No. 1 Court, 16th-ranked Virginia junior Stephanie Nauta downed No. 100 Bekerova (6-2, 6-4), then freshman Cassie Mercer topped Utah sophomore Luisa Gerstner Da Rosa (6-3, 6-2). Cavalier junior Skylar Morton followed up with a win on Court No. 2 (6-3, 6-3) to force the deciding point at No. 3. Junior Maci Epstein of Virginia and freshman Jena Cheng of Utah required two tiebreakers, but Epstein prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6) to clinch the match for the Cavaliers.

Up next for the team is a top-10 showdown in Waco, Texas against No. 9 Baylor. The Bear (1-0) opened their season last Sunday with an upset 4-3 win against then-No. 5 Georgia.

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