What Have Been The Keys to a 5-0 Start For Syracuse Tennis?
By Samuel Reis | @SamuelReisTV
Citrus TV Tennis Beat Reporter
It’s only early February, but that should not take away from the fact that Syracuse Tennis is a perfect 5-0 through its first five duals. Some matches have been tighter than others, but it has been relatively smooth sailing overall for the Orange. A culmination of factors has blended together well to yield a successful start to the season.
Doubles play only accounts for one out of seven available points in any given dual. In that sense, it is not nearly as important as singles play. While that is true on paper, the upper hand and confidence gained from winning the doubles point can go a long way in a dual. That has been proven in four of the five matches thus far when SU has claimed the doubles point.
No doubles pairing has lost more than one match. Shiori Ito and Viktoriya Kanapatskaya have led the way with a 3-0 record together. Starting duals off strong by winning the doubles point has clearly given the players confidence that has rolled into singles play. Additionally, earning the doubles point has relieved some pressure off the Cuse heading into singles and has put more pressure on its opponents to come back from behind.
Doubles is certainly not a “make or break” in a dual but Syracuse has shown early in the season how important winning that point can be for a team playing with plenty of momentum.
Lower Singles Players
Winning the doubles point has often afforded SU the ability to lose a few singles matchups from time to time. Take this past weekend for example, where Zeynep Erman lost her first singles match of the season and Viktoriya Kanpatskaya had to forfeit her match. Additionally, Miyuka Kimoto on #1 singles has not been playing her best tennis recently. However, it has been the players on the lower courts who have stepped up for the Orange to get the job done.
Ito Shiori has compiled a 4-1 record in singles play. Meanwhile, Polina Kozyreva at #4 singles and Ines Fonte at #6 singles have been the most impressive players for SU. Both Kozyreva and Fonte are a flawless 5-0 in singles. They have each won all of their singles matches in straight sets as well. The impressive play of Kozyreva and Fonte has been very helpful for the Orange, especially in duals when some of their top singles players have struggled. This is a very promising sign for the Cuse, showing the quality it has on its small roster and how it can rely on players from the lower courts to put points on the board.
Another key to success so far has been staying healthy. Up to this point, there haven’t been any significant injuries that have notably affected Syracuse in any duals. On a roster of just six players, it will be paramount for everyone to remain healthy throughout the season. While one minor concern has been an apparent elbow injury for Miyuka Kimoto that was sustained against Cornell, it does not seem to be anything too serious right now. With A.C.C. play just around the corner, continuing to have every player available will be a must.
Before conference play gets underway against Boston College on February 18th, the Orange will face Buffalo back home in the confines of Drumlins Tennis Club. First serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday.
Make sure to follow @SamuelReisTV on Twitter for updates on every match and other SU Tennis news.