Monday, April 22, 2024
Home Road Trip Tennis: Women split road trip, deja vu for men in Cambridge

Tennis: Women split road trip, deja vu for men in Cambridge

by Staff

With both Northwestern tennis teams on the road this weekend, the women battled to a win and a loss, while the men were defeated 4-0 at Harvard for the second time this season.

Women’s tennis (8-4) traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to face Kansas (2-6) and Arkansas (7-3) on back-to-back days. Both matches promised to be good tests of the ‘Cats’ level after they clocked in at 48th in the ITA’s first ranking of the year. Kansas was 46th, while Arkansas was 64th.

On Saturday, the action kicked off with Northwestern narrowly taking the doubles point over KU after the No. 2 pairing of Sydney Pratt and Christina Hand won the deciding set 7-5. Hand, the hero of last weekend’s win over Brown, could not replicate her doubles success in singles — she fell 6-0, 6-4 at the No. 3 spot, leveling the match up for the Jayhawks.

It didn’t take long for NU to reclaim its lead, however, as Neena Feldman beat Silvia Costache by the exact same scoreline at the No. 6 spot. While the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players were locked in tight contests, the other matches swung Northwestern’s way.

Pratt stormed through the second set after a close first, winning 7-5, 6-1 at No. 4. The clincher came from Kiley Rabjohns, who had struggled of late, having failed to win a live rubber since the opening match of the season against Florida Atlantic. This time, Rabjohns cruised to a critical 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jasmine Adams at No. 5 to finish off the 4-1 win for the ‘Cats. The other two matches went unfinished.

Sunday’s match against the host team Arkansas was a far more tense affair. The doubles point once again came down to a deciding set that finished 7-5, but this time it was Feldman and Justine Leong who came up just short at the No. 1 spot.

Leong surrendered at No. 1 singles as well, losing 6-4, 6-2 to 88th-ranked Carolina Gomez, which put the Razorbacks up 2-0 on the day. The five remaining matches were all dogfights, with long sets aplenty.

Hand navigated her way through two close sets to grab NU’s first win of the day at No. 3, 6-4, 7-5. Shortly thereafter, Rabjohns continued her positive momentum from the previous day to level the tie at 2-2. From down a set, she mounted an authoritative comeback, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 at No. 5.

At the time of Rabjohns’ win, there was real hope for Northwestern. At No. 6, Feldman was about to serve for the match leading 5-4 in the third set. Maria Shusharina at No. 2 and Pratt at No. 4 had both lost a tiebreak first set, but were competing deep into the second set — 6-6 and 5-5 respectively.

As it turned out, that snapshot in time was the high-water mark for Northwestern’s chances. Shusharina lost her tiebreak 7-0 (after losing the first set tiebreak 7-1), and Feldman was broken while serving the match not once, but twice. Pratt extended her match into a second set tiebreak, meaning that NU found itself in two tiebreaks, needing wins in both to stay alive.

But, in a flash, it was over. A splurge of unforced errors off Pratt’s racquet gave her opponent Morgan Cross a 5-0 lead, and after the Wildcat missed a sitting forehand down 1-5, Cross fired up an unreturnable serve on match point to clinch the 4-2 win for Arkansas. Feldman was down 0-3 in the third set tiebreak at the time, and did not finish her match. It was a day of extremely fine margins that was ultimately decided by the four tiebreaks lost by Shusharina and Pratt.

No. 45 men’s tennis (5-9) traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to face No. 8 Harvard (9-4), who they lost to 4-0 just under a month ago. The Crimson easily took the doubles point after No. 1 pairing Gleb Blekher and Felix Nordby lost 6-2 to Daniel Milavsky and Cooper Williams — a team ranked as the seventh best doubles outfit in the country — and No. 3 pairing Jackson Caldwell and Nick Herdoiza lost 6-3.

Caldwell, who was making his first appearance in the lineup since the Harvard match in January, slotted in at No. 6 singles but went down swiftly 6-1, 6-3. Blekher continued a rough patch of form at No. 2, losing 7-5, 6-4. After spending much time as the team’s No. 1 this season, Blekher is now 2-8 on the year in singles. He has lost as many singles matches as he did in the whole of last season when he finished 16-8, albeit playing mostly at the No. 6 spot.

Milavsky finished the job for Harvard, defeating NU’s Saiprakash Goli 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3. The remaining matches went unfinished, though Northwestern’s No. 1 Presley Thieneman was notably on the verge of upsetting Williams, the nation’s 11th ranked singles player. He led 6-3, 5-5 when the match stopped.

Both tennis teams return to the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston next Friday for a doubleheader, with the women facing No. 38 Memphis followed by the men squaring off against another formidable Ivy League squad in No. 4 Columbia.

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Tourism Trends