WACO, Texas - No. 12 Baylor capitalized on a quick start after winning the doubles point, taking a 4-2 victory over eighth-ranked Northwestern on a sunny day at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas.
Having lost the doubles point in each of its last six matches, Baylor's extra practice time working on doubles paid off with a 1-0 lead that kept them comfortably in front throughout singles. The Lady Bears dropped the first set in four of six singles matches, but freshman Ema Burgic turned one of those into a comeback win that proved to be the difference.
"I love the way we played doubles today, that was a major improvement," head coach Joey Scrivano said. "Changing up the lineup worked out well for us. We just executed really well on all three courts. And we are excited about the way Ema came back in her singles match today. She has a really bright future, and we really like the way she finished today."
Despite winning the doubles point, the outcome was in serious doubt with Baylor down 5-1 on Court 2 and falling behind on Court 3. Baylor's new Court 1 duo of Nina Secerbegovic and Ema Burgic, both Bosnian natives, looked solid from the start, cruising to an 8-3 win over the No. 4 team in the NCAA of Linda Abu Muschrefova and Nida Hamilton. The win over the nation's fourth-ranked team is the best win of the season in doubles for any Baylor pair.
Meanwhile, the BU pair of seniors Sona Novakova and Diana Nakic had a slow start, but facing a 5-1 deficit on Court 2, ripped off seven consecutive games to defeat Northwestern's Veronica Corning and Brittany Wowchuk.
The Wildcats came out firing singles, but Baylor seniors Secerbegovic and Novakova each won their first set to keep NU at bay. No. 32 Secerbegovic squeaked through her first set 7-6(2), and dominated the second 6-1 for a win over No. 51 Wowchuk. Novakova, ranked 47th, defeated No. 118 Belinda Niu 7-5, 6-1 in nearly the same fashion as Secerbegovic to leave Baylor one point shy of clinching the win.
For the third time this season, it was the freshman Burgic who came through with the match-clinching point. After struggling through the first set in a 6-2 loss to Corning, Burgic didn't lose a game in the second set, and then got the break points she needed to win the third set 6-4.
Baylor will have a nine-day layoff before traveling to Coral Gables, Fla., to take on 10th-ranked Miami. The Hurricanes will be Baylor's sixth top-10 opponent and eighth consecutive top-20 opponent on the season.