Syracuse Tennis Report Card: How Do The Orange Stack Up?
By Philip Galati
Citrus TV Tennis Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, NY – Syracuse Tennis is 4 games into its 2021 season, and sits at a 3-1 record. With dominant 6-1 wins against Army and Cornell, a solid 5-2 outing against Brown, and a tough 5-2 loss to Penn State, let’s take a closer look at each player’s start to 2022.
INES FONTE: A-
The sophomore has been holding it down on Doubles Court #3. Her excellent offense at the net has helped the Portugal native and her doubles partner, Viktoria Kanapatskaya, win all of their 4 double outings thus far. On the singles court, however, it’s been a different story. Her first two matches were solid wins in straight sets, but her most recent two were more of a marathon. She won her first set in each of those matches, but lost the next two, more often than not from a tiebreaker. If Ines can keep her stamina high and play smart defensive tennis, she can improve to winning form in singles play.
SHIORI ITO: A
This one’s a no-brainer. The freshman has absolutely dominated the hardcourt. She is one of two Orange players flawless in singles play, and nearly perfect in doubles as well. She isn’t afraid to let her emotion show in the heat of battle, but harnesses it well to fight back and turns her aggression into positive action. The only sets she’s dropped have been a couple openers, showing her ability to adapt to her opponent’s playstyle and get the job done. The Japanese player has shown a lot of promise early in the spring season.
VIKTORIYA KANAPATSKAYA: A-
Viktoriya started her 2021 season ranked #120 in the nation in singles. When it was all said and done, she rose to an unprecedented final tally of #14. The Belarus native’s start to 2022, however, has been a bit more rocky. After winning her opening singles match of the season, she dropped her next two in straight sets. She found her footing again against Cornell’s Lan Mi, who ranked in the top 80 ITF junior players in the world last year. That breakthrough match showed Kanapatskaya’s ability to vary her shots, as she played a much more defensive outing rather than relying on sheer power from her forehead. The sophomore’s nerve will continue to be tested as the ACC slate looms large.
MIYUKA KIMOTO: A
The other half of the freshmen duo, Kimoto has also taken to the Drumlins courts well. She has had great success in doubles with fellow Japanese expatriate Shiori Ito, and their chemistry is reflected in their play. While Ito usually finishes the points, Kimoto does the heavy lifting behind-the-scenes, staying solid on the baseline and making the opponents work. That solid baseline play is reflected in her singles matches as well. Her matches have not been easy on Court #2, but she stood her ground nonetheless. Her only loss in singles play came against Penn State’s Yvonna Zuffova, a player with WTA Europe wins under her belt. Kimoto has won every other singles match in straight sets without much fuss, and is proving to be an excellent addition to Head Coach Younes Limam’s squad.
POLINA KOZYREVA: A
After a 10-9 singles record last season, the junior is making sure she’s kicking 2022 off on the right foot – a flawless foot, that is. Kozyreva has dropped just 9 games in 8 sets of singles play on Court #5. Most of her matches take less than 45 minutes to play, including breaks. The Russian is not messing around this season, and she wants her opponents to know it. Her doubles play has been less successful, though. On Court #1 for most of her matches, she hasn’t quite connected with Sonya Trescheva yet. Many of her lost points in doubles come from individual error rather than miscommunication, but that will improve as the season progresses and the pair get back into the swing of things. Bottom line, Kozyreva may not be the force she wants to be right now on the doubles side of things, but shows no signs of slowing as a standout singles player.
SONYA TRESCHEVA: B
The opening spring slate has not been kind to the senior. Trescheva has had some injury troubles already with her right arm, a seemingly perennial cause of concern for her. Singles Court #3 has seen three wins for her opponents, one of them coming from Trescheva’s retirement in just the second set. During play, she seems confined to no man’s land, struggling to keep up with the pace of her matches and often resorting to high, looping shots from well behind her own baseline. Sonya’s only win in singles play was from her most recent match, but that may give her the kind of confidence she needs to get back on track. She’s already shown some of that confidence on Doubles Court #1 alongside Polina Kozyreva, and the pair sit at 2-2 in doubles play. Kozyreva only won one singles match in all of 2020, so focusing on doubles may be in her best interest going forward.
After 4 straight home duals, the Orange travel to face off against Drexel this Sunday. Follow along @CitrusTVSports on Twitter from 2pm onwards for live updates from the dual.