May 21, 2024

Becerra & Ranaivo rally past D2’s Top-Ranked Doubles Team

Posted May 21, 2024 1:12 PM

Story by UNK Athletic Communications 

Kearney, Neb. – The 15th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney women’s tennis team rallied to take the doubles point and won three singles matches in straight sets to down 23rd-ranked Azusa (Calif.) Pacific, 4-1, Monday morning in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 match in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The eighth-seeded Lopers (21-5) advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in program history where they’ll face top-seed and six-time defending national champion Barry, Fla. (21-4). The match is set to start at 3 p.m. Central Tuesday with temps expected to be in the high 90's. Live results will be available with live video starting in the Final Four. Back in February at the Ernest Grundy Tennis Center in Kearney, the BU Buccaneers downed the Lopers, 5-1, in an ITA National Team Indoor Championships dual. Barry also won a 2023 match between the two, 4-0. To hand APU (21-3) just its third loss of the season, UNK had to dig themselves out of a doubles hole. The Cougars won at two, 6-1, and were up 4-3 at three and 3-0 at one. Azusa has Division II’s top-ranked doubles pair in senior Madison Kane and graduate Miruna Tudor, a transfer from Wisconsin.

However, UNK’s 31st-ranked tandem of Melisa Becerra (Colombia) and Narindra Ranaivo (Madagascar) not only came back from that 3-0 hole but also a 5-1 deficit to win, 7-6 (-5). That was the clincher as junior Alexis Bernthal (Boulder, Colo.) and senior Jazmin Zamorano (Mexico) rallied from a 5-4 deficit to win at three, 7-5.

Becerra and Ranaivo are now 30-2 with Bernthal and Zamorano picking up their first doubles victory in a dual this season. Finally, Kane and Tudor finish up 17-3.In singles, APU got on the board when the eighth-ranked Kane won in straight sets at one. Freshman Tanya Midzi (Zimbabwe) rolled at six (-2, -0) over regionally-ranked Shannele Lopez and then Ranaivo and freshman Fabiana Gamboa (Venezuela) closed things out. Ranked 12th in the region, Ranaivo got past regionally-ranked Vini Bautista (-4, -1) at three with the 45th-ranked Gamboa besting the 48th-ranked Tudor (-4, -1).