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Monday, Jan 31, 2022 at 1:23 pm

Syracuse Tennis Bests the Big Red

By Philip Galati IV | @PhilipGalati4

SYRACUSE, NY – SU Tennis is back to winning ways after a convincing 6-1 over Cornell at Drumlins on Sunday.

“I thought it was a great match for us today,” said Head Coach Younes Limam. “We expected Cornell to be tough and to challenge us in some positions…very pleased on how we responded after last weekend.”

The Doubles point was a team-wide effort, as each pair won their respective matches. Polina Kozyreva and Sonya Trescheva won their first doubles match on Court #1 since the season opener vs Army with a 6-4 set. Shiori Ito and Miyuka Kimoto took Court #2 6-3, but Viktoria Kanapatskaya and Ines Fonte were the first doubles match to end.

The sophomores only dropped one game, thanks in large part to Fonte’s commanding presence at the net. Her excellent reactions on volleys and powerful overheads didn’t give Cornell’s Jenny Wong or Alexandra Savu much of a chance, and the Orange cruised into the break.

On the singles side of things, Cuse kept the momentum going. Kozyreva once again won her singles match, 6-0, 6-1. The Russia native is 4-0 in singles play in 2022, and has only dropped 9 games in 8 sets on Court #5.

“She’s playing with a lot of confidence. She set the tone early in the match and plays her game. I think Polina has been really committing to her gameplan, and really committing to her shots.”

On the other hand, Kanapatskaya’s match was much more of a slow burn. She squared off against Lan Mi, who ranked in the Top 80 junior tour players in the world in 2021. Ma’s forehand stroke went downwards rather than catching the racquet above her shoulder, an unorthodox method to hit the ball, but powerful nonetheless. Kanapatsakaya, who usually also  relies on powerful shots from the baseline, responded just as one might expect a player who ranked #14 nationally last year in singles would. The Belarus native played solid defensive tennis, with lots of sliced forehands and expertly placed drop shots and won 7-5, 6-3.

“[Mi] had a little bit of an awkward forehand, but she’s very efficient and hits the ball very hard,” said Limam I think part of [Viktoria’s] plan was using controlled aggression and changing the pace quite a bit…I know she struggled a little bit the last few matches, but I couldn’t be prouder of her. The first set could’ve gone either way, but she just stayed the course and stayed positive.”

Over on Court #2, Miyuka Kimoto defeated Maria Adiaconitei in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. Adiaconitei had some experience against an Orange opponent coming into this match, after defeating Shiori Ito in singles with a tiebreak back in September at the Columbia Invitational. This time, however, Ito took on Valeria Ho. The freshmen is the second Orange to stay undefeated in singles play following her 6-1, 7-5 win on Court #4.

In an afternoon full of fortune for the Orange, the real morale-booster was found on Court #3. Sonya Trescheva broke through her singles slump and won her first match, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). Coach Limam said he was proud to see her perseverance paid off.

“I think just being a little bit more patient. I thought she used a lot of variety in her match. She wasn’t rushing it as much, and [I’m] very proud of her just bouncing back from a tough start to the season and finding a way to get a W today.”

The only point lost on the afternoon was on Ines Fonte’s court. After going up 6-2 after the first set, she couldn’t hold off the comeback from Jenny Wong, who won the next two sets 6-3, 1-0 (10-7) to avoid the shutout for the Big Red.

After four straight home duals to open the spring season, the Orange take a road trip to the Keystone State to take on Drexel next Sunday. The Dragons lost their first and only dual of the season to in-state rivals UPenn 6-1. Follow along @CitrusTVSports on Twitter for live updates from the dual.