Jecminkova Wins First NCAA Tournament Match
May 21, 2002
STANFORD, Calif. - Alena Jecminkova, ranked 95th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, came from behind in her first-round NCAA Tournament singles match Tuesday morning to beat No. 22 Raquel Kops-Jones of California, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium at Stanford University.
"I'm so excited and glad that I won," Jecminkova said following her match. "I went to two nationals and didn't win, so I was starting to doubt myself."
The Olomouc, Czech Republic, native trailed 6-1, 1-1 Monday when the match was suspended due to bad weather. In the resumption of the second set Tuesday morning, Jecminkova and Kops-Jones traded points before Jecminkova broke serve at 4-3 and cruised to the 6-3 victory. In the third set, Jecminkova again broke Kops-Jones' serve at 4-3, but Kops-Jones broke back to force the tie breaker.
"In the second set yesterday, I figured out how to play more effectively against her and that is what I did today from the beginning," Jecminkova said. "I had to play an offensive game today."
Kops-Jones was the second Top 25 opponent Jecminkova has beaten this season. She defeated then-No. 8 ranked Mariel Verban of Georgia, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 at the Georgia Fall Invitational on Sept. 28 in Athens.
"This was a terrific effort by Alena today," head coach Steve Bietau said. "Raquel is a very tough player and is one of the best athletes in the country. It took everything Alena had to pull this off. She really lifted her game and dictated the pace of a lot of the points at crucial times in the match."
Jecminkova will play No. 24 Alice Pirsu of Pennsylvania at 1 p.m. PT today in the second round. Pirsu was selected the Ivy League's Player of the Year as well as All-Ivy First Team in singles. She finished the regular season with a 30-10 record, including an undefeated mark against conference opponents.
With the win, Jecminkova is only the second Wildcat in the program's history to win a NCAA Tournament singles match and advance to the second round of the draw. Yana Dorodnova reached the third round in the 1998 NCAA Championships.
Jecminkova is the first player in Wildcat history to qualify for three NCAA Singles Championships and she is just the third Kansas State player ever to qualify for the tournament. Karina Kuregian (1995) and Dorodnova (1998) are the others. Jecminkova lost to Colleen Cheng of Northwestern, 7-5, 6-2 in the opening round of last year's tournament in Stone Mountain, Ga. Cheng finished the season ranked No. 37.