May 26, 2010
ATHENS, Ga.- Auburn senior women's tennis player Fani Chifchieva advanced to the round of 32 at the NCAA Singles Championships for the third time of her career on Wednesday afternoon, defeating Virginia's Lindsey Hardenburg 6-4, 6-2 in the tournament's opening round.
The two battled back and forth in the opening set, and were squared at 4-4 through eight games. However, Chifchieva rallied to win the final two games and take the set 6-4.
Chifchieva kept the momentum going in the second set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. Hardenburg would go on to win the next two games to run the score to 5-2, but it wasn't enough as Chifchieva captured the second set as well as the match by a score of 6-2.
Chifchieva will take on No. 3 Maria Sanchez (USC) on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
Sanchez, one of the nation's top players, is currently ranked No. 3 in the ITA rankings and was ranked as high as No. 2 on March 30. She is 26-8 overall this season. A sophomore, she was defeated by Auburn's Alex Haney in the opening round of the 2009 Championships, 6-3, 6-4.
The two have played each other before, squaring off on Jan. 30 at the ITA Kickoff in an unfinished match. Chifchieva took the first set 6-0, and the two ended the match in the second set at 5-5 before it was ended due to the tournament format. For more information, including live stats and streaming video, log onto NCAA.com.