Syracuse tennis yielded in extra set, encounters first loss of season

Syracuse tennis yielded in extra set, encounters first loss of season

No. 16 Orange fall 2-4 in conference match against Virginia.
Published: March 3, 2023
Syracuse tennis defeated Miami 5-2 at the Drumlins Country Club on Feb. 26, 2023.
Syracuse tennis defeated Miami 5-2 at the Drumlins Country Club on Feb. 26, 2023.

Syracuse tennis suffered their first loss of the season in a 2-4 conference matchup against No. 15 Virginia, ending its nine-game winning streak.

Syracuse head coach Younes Limam altered the doubles lineup again at the advent of the game, placing Viktoriya Kanapatskaya with Ines Fonte, while Zeynep Erman combined with Polina Kozyreva and Shiori Ito teamed up with Miyuka Kimoto.

In the No. 1 doubles against Virginia’s Melodie Collard and Julia Adams, the No. 41 pair in the nation Kanapatskaya and Fonte immediately lost control of the doubles, being conquered in the bloodbath loss 0-6.

Erman and Kozyreva competed with another ranked pair of Virginia, No. 7 Natasha Subhash and Elaine Chervinsky. The Orange pair tried to take advantage. Kozyreva cooperated with Erman effectively, staying active back-and-forth. But, the Hokies tied 3-3 then attacked Syracuse’s zone by smash shots and forced errors. Erman and Kozyreva lost 3-6 and Syracuse dropped the doubles.

The Japanese duo Ito and Kimoto showed their consistency to push the game into a deadlock, while Virginia’s Hibah Shaikh and Sara Ziodato were implementing the tactic of Australian Doubles Formation. The game was forfeited after Syracuse was confirmed to lose the doubles.

Turning to the singles, Kozyreva held on her reign in singles and hammered Sara Ziodato 6-4 and 6-1. Kozereva earlier set the tone by her remarkable athleticism, forcing Ziodato to commit countless errors till the end. Kozyreva successfully added another victory into her winning-streak record.

Beside Kozyreva, Kanaptskaya remained undefeated in singles as well, upsetting No. 110 Subhash in a straight set 6-4 and 6-3. She contributed a versatile performance, scoring in ways of lob shot, net plays, aces and smashes. She has won 10 singles games in a row with the same status as Kozyreva. Syracuse obtained their second point in singles.

“(Kozyreva and Kanaptskaya) work extremely hard. I hope they can keep going with that record, just builds on today’s match,” Limam said. “Obviously Virginia is one of the top teams in the country and winning their matches in two sets is very impressive.”

Ito couldn’t extend her winning streak, being frustrated by No. 92 Hibah Shaikh 2-6 and 4-6. In contrast to her agility in previous games, Ito was restrained and committed errors while Shaikh kept her offensive mode at the front. Ito was unable to find an opportunity to fill the deficit and reverse.

Kimoto stuck into her negative losing daymare. Though she took a three-game lead against Chervinsky in the first after showing her determination to end her worse situation in singles, she failed to persist later and lost 4-6 and 1-6, which was her fourth loss in succession.

The biggest cliffhanger fell to the other two singles when the Orange was down 2-3 overall. Fonte put herself up in the second set and forced the tiebreaker, though she was dominated by Collard 4-6. She survived with a tiny lead in the tiebreaker, and gained more time and possibilities for Syracuse to come back.

Meanwhile, the most intense game was happening between the matchup of No.1 singles on both sides. With the previous game experience against No. 8 Alexa Noel (Miami), Erman put all of her strength in every serve and strike, resulting in No. 38 Adams making consecutive errors and taking over the first set by 6-4. However, she was forced to the tiebreaker even though she continued setting the tone at the first half of the second set. Adams trailed multiple games and forced the tiebreaker. Erman didn’t survive this time. All possibilities came down to the two decisive sets.

Syracuse eventually yielded after Fonte was flushed 0-6 in her third set and determined the loss of today. Coach Limam subsequently forfeited Erman’s single. 

“(I’m) very proud of the effort and attitude of the team,” Limam said. “We battled, we showed a lot of resilience and fights.”

Syracuse tennis will play back-to-back against Coppin State and Virginia Tech in Drumlin Country Club this weekend. SU starts the homestand Saturday at 11 a.m. against Coppin State. On Sunday, the Orange faces Virginia Tech at 11 a.m.