3 Takeaways from Syracuse Tennis Before ACC Play
By Philip Galati | @philipgalati4
Citrus TV Tennis Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, NY – Syracuse tennis wrapped up their non-conference slate last weekend with a doubleheader win over in-state rivals Buffalo and Niagara. There have been plenty of bright spots for the Orange through those 7 duals, but the battle has only just begun. The ACC boasts 6 teams in the Top 25, more than any other team in the country. Here are the 3 biggest takeaways through the Orange’s hot start to the 2022 season.
1. Fight Fire With Fire
There are very few things tougher to overcome in tennis than pure power. Sophomore Viktoria Kanapatska especially has a noticeably loud forehand shot, something she uses to her advantage very well. Senior Polina Kozyreva and freshman Shiori Ito, on the other hand, very rarely have two feet on the ground when they make contact with the ball on the forehand side. It brings a flavor of unpredictability into the mix, something that opponents can’t read as well body language grounded on the baseline. If players can continue to show off their raw power, especially on hard courts, they can more easily increase the pace of the match while maintaining control.
2. Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
The team chemistry on display through a month of play has been fantastic. The freshmen duo of Miyuka Kimoto and Shiori Ito have been cruising in doubles play. There are more smiles to be seen and laughs to be heard from the Japanese pair than any other group on the courts. A good rapport between teammates is crucial to building confidence in practice and in duals. Polina Kozyreva and Sonya Trescheva are a frequent doubles pairing from Russia, and seem to be on similar wavelengths during their doubles matches. But what happens when things are switched around? Head Coach Younes Limam has been making adjustments to some of the doubles pairings, but despite moving players around, the communication seems to be top notch. Not everything from doubles play has been as stellar, though, and there is one major area of improvement the Orange can concentrate on before ACC play begins.
3. Consistent Net Play
The doubles slate in a dual is only worth 1 point, but tennis is as much a physical game as it is a mental one. Building confidence in doubles play always has the chance to carry over to the singles matches. That’s been especially apparent for players like Viktoria Kanapatskaya and Shiori Ito, who excel at quick reaction volleys from inside the service boxes. But there have been some other players who could certainly build their skills. Ines Fonte has shown some excellent overheads and a few well-executed drop shots, but lacks the consistency needed to be a real threat up front. Miyuka Kimoto is one of the better baseline players on the team, but the freshman can certainly brush up on her volley skills to make herself that much more of a threat. And Sonya Trescheva has had trouble with reactions for volleys, but a lot of that can be attributed to her injuries woes as of late. Still, a little bit more consistency overall from net play can go a long way to starting duals off on the right foot.
Syracuse was originally scheduled to open their conference slate against Boston College on Saturday. However, it was announced on Friday that the match would be postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, with no rescheduled date announced as of the time of writing. That means SU gets an extra week to tune up the racquets before taking a road trip next week. The Orange take on Virginia Tech next Friday, followed by #5 UVA the following Sunday. Tune it @CitrusTVSports on Twitter for live updates from the duals.