Down a Player, Syracuse Shows Plenty of Fight in 5-2 Loss at Notre Dame

Saturday, Apr 15, 2023 at 9:00 am by Sports Editor

By Sam Reis | @SamuelReisTV

Citrus TV Tennis Beat Reporter

SOUTH BEND, I.N. – The only nationally singles player for Syracuse, Zeynep Erman, did not play. That resulted in a forfeit of a doubles and singles match. Despite that, the Orange gave it their all with four of the five singles matches going the distance to a third set. 

While doubles only lasted around 30 minutes, singles was a marathon. In a dual that lasted nearly three hours, Syracuse (11-8, 4-8 Atlantic Coast) ran out of energy in a 5-2 loss to Notre Dame (14-9, 5-7 Atlantic Coast). The defeat was the seventh straight for the Orange.

Once again, Syracuse was at a disadvantage from the start as Zeyenp Erman, the top singles player on the team, had to sit the match out presumably due to an injury. That meant Syracuse had to forfeit a doubles match. Having to win just one of the two doubles matches that were played, Notre Dame took care of business quickly as the 41st ranked duo of Julia Andreach and Carrie Beckman beat Viktoriya Kanapatskaya and Shiori Ito 6-2. Moments after that, 76th ranked Yashna Yellayi and Rylie Hanford defeated Polina Kozyreva and Miyuka Kimoto by the same 6-2 scoreline. 

Notre Dame was given a 2-0 lead in the dual before singles started as Syracuse had to forfeit a singles match due to Erman being unavailable. In the matches that took place, only one of them ended in straight sets. That was in No. 2 singles where Viktoriya Kanapatskaya won two tightly contested sets in a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Bojana Pozder. That win put SU on the board.

However, shortly after Kanapatskaya’s triumph, Yashna Yellayi defeated Polina Kozyreva 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. Despite Kozyreva’s bounce back second set, Yellayi took control once again with a dominant third set performance.

With the Fighting Irish on the verge of victory, Shiori Ito gave the Orange some hope after a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over Carrie Beckman in No. 4 singles. That cut Notre Dame’s lead in half.

In No. 1 singles, Miyuka Kimoto played her first ACC match of the season in that position, taking the place of Zeynep Erman. The sophomore was outplayed in the first set but turned things around in the second set. That led to a decisive third set that came down to the wire. In the end, her opponent, No. 61 Page Freeman came out on top 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to clinch the win for the Fighting Irish.

In the last singles match remaining, Akari Matsuno and Ines Fonte also went to a third set. While Fonte comfortably won the first set, Matsuno completed an impressive comeback in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph. 

Considering the circumstances with Syracuse having to play down a player yet again, the Orange showed a lot of fight in singles to make the match much more competitive than it could have been. Only one contest remains in the regular season and that comes on Sunday. SU completes a weekend road trip against Louisville, the worst team in the conference. First serve is slated for noon.