FIU tennis clips Air Force Falcons’ wings in 4-0 sweep

Sophomore Yasmine Kabbaj on the court. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Brian Olmo | Sports Director

The FIU tennis team shot down the Air Force Falcons 4-0 on Thursday, Feb. 16 in Orlando, Florida, to improve to 4-2 on the season.

Signs of a one-sided affair popped their heads in early, as sophomore Yasmine Kabbaj and freshman Oyinlomo Quadre notched their third straight win at the No. 2 position over Air Force’s Haily Stelse and Isabella Flodin, 6-2.

Junior Salma Loudili and freshman Katerina Mandelikova kept the ball rolling as they secured FIU the 1-0 advantage with their win over Andrea Le and Courtney Swift, 6-1.

Domination for the Panthers didn’t end at doubles. The team was only getting started.

FIU kept chugging along like a well-oiled machine, with three consecutive first singles wins. Under immense pressure, Air Force completely ran out of jet fuel, crashing and burning early.

Freshman Ekaterina Khairutdinova kicked off the beatdown with her third straight victory at the No. 2 spot, 6-3, 6-1, and Loudili kept it going as she added her fourth dual win in straight sets over Arianna Van Houwelin, 6-1, 6-2.

Kabbaj delivered the coup de grâce, breaking out of a four-match funk to beat Sydney Fitch 6-2, 6-2, and taking the wind out from under the Falcon’s wings.

FIU makes its way back to Orlando to take on their fiercest competitor so far in the season, No. 3 Texas A&M, on Friday, Feb. 24. The Aggies are 8-1 and have decimated opponents like No. 20 Florida and No. 11 Ohio State.

The colorful match between blue and gold against maroon and white is set to begin at 12 p.m.

Follow Brian Olmo on Twitter at @Brian_Olmo11