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Alisha Chulani (l) and Nikolina Batoshvili (r) are two wins from a national doubles title
Alisha Chulani (l) and Nikolina Batoshvili (r) are two wins from a national doubles title

Chulani/Batoshvili Advance to Semifinals of NCAA Doubles Championship

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Nikolina Batoshvili and Alisha Chulani earned a 6-3, 7-5 win over Dakota Fordham and Isabella Hartman of NYU in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Tournament on Sunday at the Forest Lake Tennis Club.

Batoshvili and Chulani, the top seed in the tournament, will move on to the semifinal round to take on Caitlyn Ferrante and Sarah Youngberg of Wesleyan in a rematch of an NCAA Semifinal battle from last week, which Batoshvili and Chulani won in a tiebreaker (7-4) before Wesleyan went on to win the match 5-3. 

In Sunday's match, NYU got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, before Chulani and Batoshvili rattled off six wins in a row to take the first set. The second set was more even throughout, but the Athena duo was able to get a key break with the score tied 5-5 and then were able to serve out the win. 

Chulani was also in action in the singles quarterfinals in the morning, but fell to Erica Ekstrand of Williams 6-3, 7-6, after advancing to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Chulani came close to forcing a split in the second set, but Ekstrand was able to fight off two set points down 5-4 and 40-30 to hold and get back to 5-5 before winning in the tiebreaker. 

Batoshvili and Chulani have clinched All-America honors for the third year in a row, and have now advanced further in the NCAA Championships than they did in their previous two trips. A win against Wesleyan tomorrow would keep them on the court for the finals immediately after, when they would try to become the second doubles champions in program history, joining Catherine Allen and Caroline Cox (2019).