PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Oct. 8, 2012) – Freshman Mariam Zein (Sugarland, Texas) led the Rutgers tennis team at the USTA Invitational, winning the “E” draw of the women’s open singles flight in Flushing, N.Y., on the final day of play Monday. The tandem of sophomore Noor Judeh (Potomac, Md.) and freshman Lindsey Kayati (Monroeville, N.J.) advanced to the finals of their respective draw at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Overall, the Scarlet Knights, led by head coach Ben Bucca, recorded 12 singles victories and seven doubles wins. The tournament was flighted, with results being generated from draws of individual singles and doubles tournaments rather than a team score.
Zein became the first Rutgers player ever to win a singles flight championship at the USTA Invitational, beating Brown’s Sarah Kandath (6-2, 7-5) in the finals and putting together an undefeated 4-0 record.
“It’s an honor to be able to give back to the team and my coach,” said Zein. “It was very humbling. It was awesome to play at the same place the U.S. Open is played. There was lots of good competition. I played well and stayed focused and was able to come out on top.”
She advanced to her flight finals by winning three matches in her draw, which started with defeating Carolyn Pitman (6-1, 3-6, 10-6) of Army in the round of 16, before earning a victory over Fordham’s Angie Dabu (6-3, 6-3) in the quarterfinals. The freshman secured a spot in the finals by downing Monica Chow (7-5, 7-5) of Princeton in the semis.
In doubles competition, Judeh and Kayati showed strong play for the Scarlet Knights in draw “3,” going 3-1. The two started by beating Adams/Washington (8-4) of St. John’s and then defeated Morgan State’s Cooper/Russell (8-5) before recording a semifinal victory over Perelman/Tanenbaum (8-3) of Cornell. The pair eventually lost its finals match in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (4), to Kandath/Wiley of Brown.
“We had really great chemistry on the court,” said Kayati. “We just clicked and we communicated well. It all came together.”
“I think we played really well for our first time together,” added Judeh. “Our personalities work really well together and it definitely showed.”
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