Women’s tennis advances to 2nd round with win

first_imgDespite the University of Wisconsin’s 4-1 record in singles against Iowa, Thursday’s Big Ten Tournament first-round match was anything but easy. Katya Mirnova’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory capped off Wisconsin’s comeback after the Badgers dug themselves a hole early in the match.Although Mirnova was up 5-1 in the decisive set, Iowa’s Alexis Dorr won three straight games to keep Iowa’s season alive. Down 30-40 in the last game, Dorr’s slam hit the net to advance the Badgers in the tournament.“It was a little nerve-racking considering the fact that it was kind of a deciding match,” Mirnova said. “She did give me a few mistakes which encouraged me, but she played really well today.”According to women’s head coach Brian Fleishman, nerves are a factor the team looks to improve upon. “Katya has put herself in positions to win the match,” Fleishman said. “I think she’s trying to deal with it, but she gets nervous.”In addition to Mirnova, Wisconsin’s rally was guided by freshman Angela Chupa’s turnaround. Chupa, who struggled at times in Big Ten singles, came back from 4-1 and 4-0 in the first two sets to sweep Jessica Young.According to sophomore Jessica Seyferth, the team’s victory can be attributed to mental toughness.“I think we really matured mentally, definitely towards the end of the season. I think that’s definitely helped our success,” Seyferth said. “Everyone is kind of stepping up.”Seyfeth also helped the Badgers with her 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kelci Klokenga. Looking to rebound from her tough doubles loss, Seyferth never faced any trouble as she cruised to the sweep. With the home crowd cheering her on, Seyferth gave Wisconsin its first victory to tie up the match at 1-1.“I hope they realize all the hard work they’re putting in is kind of paying off at the end of the season,” Fleishman said. “It’s kind of good to win on the home courts in front of their friends and family — (it’s) a confidence booster.”In addition to having the home crowd at their back during the Big Ten Tournament, the weather also played a factor in the match. With gusts of 16 mph, players facing the south were able to take advantage of topspin shots.“In doubles, I would say it was a little more difficult to judge the ball,” Seyferth said. “I missed some shots I probably wouldn’t miss.”Although the wind died down as the match wore on, the glare of the sun became an increasing factor.“The sun is coming from the side, so it’s very difficult,” Mirnova said. “I didn’t think it would be a factor, but it surprised me.”Wisconsin is hoping the weather will play an equally important role tomorrow when they face Michigan in the second round of the tournament. Although the 18th-ranked Wolverines should be able to handle the unranked Badgers, the weather could give Wisconsin an advantage.“The wind is sort of an equalizer,” Fleishman said. “Whoever deals with the elements better comes out on top.”Although Wisconsin is riding the momentum from Thursday’s win heading into today’s game, playing back-to-back days could also become an issue for the Badgers.“Turning around after playing today as hard as the girls did, they’re going to be sore, they’re going to be tired,” Fleishman said. “But if they want it bad enough, it could be interesting.”Despite the odds being heavily against Wisconsin, Mirnova still has confidence heading into tomorrow’s match.“I’ve played so many matches before, so I’ve played against the girl from Michigan,” Mirnova said. “I definitely feel they’re beatable.”last_img

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