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Women's Tennis Opens Spring Season, Blanks Cleveland State, 7-0

Kristin Norton picked up a pair of victories for Harvard Sunday afternoon (Harvard Athletic Communications). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –  The Harvard women's tennis team began its 2013 spring schedule with a dominating win, 7-0, over Cleveland State inside the Murr Center Sunday afternoon.

Harvard won all three doubles matches to earn the doubles point and all six singles matches to start the season 1-0 for the fourth consecutive year.

In doubles play, Kristin Norton and Amy He raced out to an early lead en route to an 8-1 victory over Maria Lazaris and Mengdi Liu at No. 2. Hideko Tachibana and Amanda Lin followed up by besting Alex Power and Kara Sherwood, 8-3, at the top doubles spot to earn the point for the Crimson. Hannah Morrill and Hai-Li Kong then closed out Mathilde Orange and Ellen Folkers, 8-4, by winning the final four games of the match to complete the sweep.

The Crimson carried the momentum into the singles matches, taking control from the early going.

At No. 5, Lin blanked Folkers, 6-0, 6-0, before Crystal Yen closed out Liu, 6-1, 6-0 to give the Crimson a commanding 3-0 lead.

Senior co-captain Tachibana then locked up the win for Harvard. She traded the first two games of the opening set with Power before taking five of the next six in a 6-2 victory. She proceeded to win the first three games of the second set before both players held serve for the next four games to make it 5-2. The Texas native broke Power's serve to earn the 6-2, 6-2 win and give the Crimson the decisive fourth point.

He turned in a similar performance at No. 3 for Harvard. The freshman won the opening set, 6-2, against Sherwood and won the first five games of the second en route to a 6-1 result to push the advantage to 5-0.

In the No. 2 match, Norton claimed the first set, 6-4, but fell behind 2-0 to Orange in the second set. The two broke each other's serve three straight times before Norton held serve and won the next three games to lock up a 6-3 victory.

The final match of the afternoon saw Kong rally from a set down to defeat Lazaris at No. 4. She dropped the first, 6-3, before responding with a quick 6-1 win in the second to force a tiebreak. In the tiebreaker, the freshman was in control the entire way, winning 10-2 to give Harvard its first shutout since blanking Cornell April 1, 2011.

Harvard returns to action Friday against William & Mary at 3 p.m. before entertaining Kansas State at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Results
Doubles
No. 1 Hideko Tachibana/ Amanda Lin (H) def. Alex Power/ Kara Sherwood (C): 8-3
No. 2 Kristin Norton/ Amy He (H) def. Maria Lazaris/Mengdi Liu (C): 8-1
No. 3 Hai-Li Kong (H)/Hannah Morrill (H) def. Mathilde Orange/Ellen Folkers(C):  8-4

Singles
No. 1 Hideko Tachibana (H) def. Alex Power (C): 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 Kristin Norton (H) def. Mathilde Orange (C): 6-4, 6-3
No. 3 Amy He (H) def. Kara Sherwood (C): 6-2, 6-1
No. 4 Hai-Li Kong (H) def. Maria Lazaris (C): 3-6, 6-1, 10-2
No. 5 Amanda Lin (H) def. Ellen Folkers (C): 6-0, 6-0
No. 6 Crystal Yen (H) def. Mengdi Liu (C): 6-1, 6-0