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W. Tennis Storms Past Louisville, 6-1

W. Tennis Storms Past Louisville, 6-1

by Alex Schwartz

CORAL GABLES, Fla. The University of Miami women’s tennis team earned its fifth consecutive victory with a 6-1 decision against Louisville Sunday afternoon.

No. 35 Miami (8-5, 5-3 ACC) took each of the first five points of the contest at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center, securing its first five-match winning streak since March 2019.

“With wins, you always gain confidence. I think we’re gaining confidence, but we have to be humble … and know what we have moving forward,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I do think that we’re playing better tennis. I think that we’re playing on our terms on a consistent basis at more spots. I think that when you do it for this many matches, it’s just going to continue into this coming weekend. I think that we’ll use this momentum that we’ve grabbed and we’ll just bring it forward.”

The Hurricanes took the first doubles decision with ease, as third-year sophomore Daevenia Achong and second-year freshman Florencia Urrutia defeated Dina Chaika and Chelsea Sawyer, 6-2. The other two contests, though, were both even at 4-4, giving Louisville (6-8, 3-6 ACC) a chance to claw back for the point.

Fifth-year senior Estela Perez-Somarriba and freshman Isabella Pfennig, however, won the next two games on Court 1 to defeat Andrea Di Palma and Rhea Verma, 6-4, giving the Hurricanes a 1-0 advantage for the fifth straight match.

The remaining match was played out, with Raven Neely and Tatiana Simova notching a 6-4 win for the Cardinals against second-year freshmen Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan.

“We’re playing smart doubles. We’re staying calm when we need to be calm. We’re aggressive when we need to be aggressive,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I think we’re truly believing that we’re going to get in that point. We’re playing some different formations and we’re doing some different things, I think, that are just really smart and a little uncomfortable for our opponents. It’s working well for us. So, I’m just happy that they’re believing in the game plan out there.”

In singles play, second-ranked Perez-Somarriba upped the Hurricanes’ lead to 2-0 when her opponent, Nikolina Jovic, retired during the second set. The Madrid native held a 6-1, 3-1 edge when the action stopped.

Khodan tacked on the third point when she wrapped up one of the most impressive outings of her young career, a 6-0, 6-1 decision against Verma.

After nearly 30 minutes, Miami tacked on two more points in a matter of moments with the first, from No. 87 Achong, clinching the win. The Geleen, Netherlands, native topped Neely, 6-4, 6-3, to seal the decision and then Tahan beat Chaika, 6-2, 6-4, to make it 5-0.

Sawyer got the Cardinals on the board by taking a third-set tiebreaker against Urrutia, who played such a match for the third time in her last four outings. Sawyer came away with a 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-3) result to log Louisville’s lone point of the afternoon.

In the final remaining matchup of the day, Pfennig posted a comeback triumph over Di Palma, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 1-0 (10-4).

“I think for Bella to be able to recover from that 7-6 first set and come back and dominate the second, and then get out of here with a third-set tiebreaker just says a lot about how good she is and what she’s capable of doing,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “It was nice we were able to get Di on the board with that big, dominant win at the number five position. I think that’s just going to help us moving forward in the conference.”

Miami, with Sunday’s victory, improved to 7-0 in its all-time series against Louisville. Every match between the two sides has come since the Cardinals joined the ACC in 2014-15.

The Hurricanes continue their seven-match homestand Friday at 11 a.m. when they square off with No. 29 Wake Forest at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

To keep up with the University of Miami women’s tennis team on social media, follow @CanesWTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Doubles Competition
1. Estela Perez-Somarriba/Isabella Pfennig (UM) def. Andrea Di Palma/Rhea Verma (UL), 6-4
2. Raven Neely/Tatiana Simova (UL) def. Diana Khodan/Maya Tahan (UM), 6-4
3. Daevenia Achong/Florencia Urrutia (UM) def. Dina Chaika/Chelsea Sawyer (UL), 6-2

Singles Competition
1. No. 2 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. Nikolina Jovic (UL), 6-1, 3-1, ret.
2. Isabella Pfennig (UM) def. Andrea Di Palma (UL), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 1-0 (10-4)
3. No. 87 Daevenia Achong (UM) def. Raven Neely (UL), 6-4, 6-3
4. Chelsea Sawyer (UL) def. Florencia Urrutia (UM), 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-3)
5. Diana Khodan (UM) def.  Rhea Verma (UL), 6-0, 6-1
6. Maya Tahan (UM) def. Dina Chaika (UL), 6-2, 6-4