Syracuse Serves Richmond a loss in the Season opener, Dominate 5-1
By Cameron Ezeir
CitrusTV Tennis Beat Reporter
RICHMOND, VA. — Syracuse Tennis entered the season with not only high hopes, but stern competition. The addition of three new freshmen, Kim Hansen, Zeynep Erman, and Polina Kozyreva gave further hope to a team who competes in the hardest conference in D1 women’s tennis. The ACC is home to seven ranked teams ranging from No. 2 to No. 23, however ACC play doesn’t start until the end of February, so the Orange were looking to make their mark and pick up momentum early.
With the successes of the fall season in the rear view mirror, Syracuse (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coastal Conference) headed into its matchup against Richmond (1-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10) with a chip on its shoulder. Since Younes Limam became their head coach a mere six years ago, the Orange have never lost an opener. Another interesting fact is that Syracuse and Richmond have never squared off on the courts. So with a streak on the line and some history in the making, Syracuse kicked off their 2020 campaign with a bang. SU erased any home court advantage, winning 5-1 over the Spiders from Richmond, and did so in clobbering fashion.
At the jump, the number three doubles match was a one sided affair, as the top two individual players, seniors Guzal Yusupova and Miranda Ramirez joined forces and dominated 6-1. Then, the drama ensued. Lea Owens, a recipient of Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors last year, and Dessi Zlateva, a member of the 2019 second team All-Atlantic 10, spoiled Syracuse’s doubles dominance with their senior experience. The Spiders knotted the doubles matches at one apiece with a win over Zeynep Erman (Fr.) and Sofya Golubovskaya (Jr.), 6-4. With the doubles point still up for grabs, Syracuse relied on their heavy hitters at the doubles one position. That being said, when a team stands in the top 50 in doubles in the ITA rankings, there’s a pretty good reason why. Among the excellence during fall play was the tandem of Kim Hansen (Fr.) and Sofya Treshcheva (So.). This duo was ranked No. 48 in doubles and proved themselves against the Spiders top doubles team, pulling the match out 6-4.
This secured the Orange the doubles point as they only needed three more singles wins to begin the tally count in their win column. That means relying on names such as Guzal Yusupova, Miranda Ramirez, and Sofya Golubovskaya who all rank in the top 115 in the NCAA in singles. Frankly, this is the best case scenario for an SU team that relies heavily on their singles play, which showed last year when their pitfalls were due to the lack of singles results.
Even better than relying on the individual athletes getting it done is only needing two sets to do so. Syracuse came out firing on all cylinders regarding the head to head battles. The Cuse’s top ranked player, Guzal Yusupova (No. 64), backed up her dominance in doubles and made easy work of Emily Dunbar, who’s one of the top players in the Atlantic 10 conference. Yusupova toyed with Dunbar in the first set, winning 6-0 and closed it out with a 6-4 victory in the second set. Following in the footsteps of Yusupova was the freshman Kim Hansen, who won her first ever singles match as a member of the Syracuse Orange, 7-6(6), 6-1. Hansen, standing at six feet tall, dominated the smaller and more experienced Lyndell Giffenig, proving her poise as a first year player for SU.
After a kink in the Orange’s 3-0 lead, with Miranda Ramirez losing 6-3, 6-3, to Lea Owens, a senior from Maryland, Syracuse did not look back, only needing one more singles win to kickstart their 2020 campaign in the right direction. Sofya Golubovskaya (7-6(1), 6-0) and Sofya Treshcheva (6-4, 7-5) both claimed their first singles wins of the new year to give Syracuse their first win in dominant fashion. With both Sofya’s winning, the final score was 5-1, with no matches extending to three sets.
Although the Orange can smile about this win, they will barely have any time to tuck away their rackets, as SU hits the courts in under 24 hours. Syracuse is hoping that the courts have something to do with their dominance as they return to the same location in Richmond, Virgina. This time, they face the host of this four team season opener in VCU. The Rams defeated Temple 4-0 today as both teams look to keep their perfect start to the season. The first serve is at noon between the Orange and the Rams.
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