Syracuse Tennis Suffers Hard Fought Loss to Louisville 4-3

Sunday, Apr 16, 2023 at 9:20 pm by Sports Editor

By Sam Reis | @SamuelReisTV
CitrusTV Tennis Beat Reporter

LOUISVILLE, K.Y. – Another match missed by Zeynep Erman left Syracuse with just five players once again. While Louisville was given a head start, SU made it a very competitive dual in singles as it all came down to the last match on the court.

Down 2-0 after doubles, a hot start in singles for Syracuse put the pressure on Louisville. However, the Orange (11-9, 4-9 Atlantic Coast) were overpowered by the Cardinals (9-13, 1–11 Atlantic Coast) in the higher flight matches, falling 4-3.

The absence of Zeynep Erman forced the Orange to forfeit a doubles match. Therefore, Syracuse was tasked with winning both doubles matches that were played. Those two contests turned out to be very tightly contested. In No. 2 doubles, Polina Kozyreva and Miyuka Kimoto came back to overcome Jamilah Snells and Cici Xin 7-5.

That left the doubles point in the hands of No. 1 doubles. Andrea Di Palma and Rhea Verma did just enough to defeat Viktoriya Kanapatskaya and Shiori Ito 7-5 and put the Cardinals on the board.

Syracuse had to forfeit a singles match due to Erman being unavailable. That put the ‘Cuse in a scenario where it had to win four out of the five singles matches. In No. 4 singles, Ines Fonte had no troubles in a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Cici Xin. That gave SU its first point of the dual.

Polina Kozyreva similarly dominated her match, winning 6-0, 6-2 against Tyra Richardson. Those quick wins for the Orange put them right back into the match, tying it up 2-2.

No. 5 singles is where Shiori Ito handled business in straight sets. The sophomore took down Sasha Gorchanyuk 6-3, 6-2 to give Syracuse its first lead.

Leading 3-2, the ‘Cuse needed to win just one of the final two singles matches remaining. For the first time this season, Viktoriya Kanapatskaya played in the No. 1 singles spot. The junior made it close in both sets, but her opponent, Andrea Di Palma prevailed 6-3, 6-4.

The result in No. 1 singles meant the last match on the court would decide who came out on top. That match was between Miyuka Kimoto and Rhea Verma. In the only contest that went to a third set, the two players went back and forth throughout the first two. Kimoto won a tight first set 6-4 but Verma responded with a 6-3 victory in the second set. The graduate student for the Cardinals took complete control after that and carried the momentum into the final set, winning it 6-1 to give Louisville its first ACC triumph of the season.

Syracuse lost eight straight matches to conclude the regular season, landing the No. 10 seed for the ACC Tournament. SU faces No. 7 Georgia Tech in the second round on Thursday at 12:30 in Cary, N.C. The Yellow Jackets conquered the Orange 6-1 in the regular season meeting between the programs. The winner takes on No. 2 Duke on Friday in the quarterfinals.