The No. 36 women’s tennis team got back to its winning ways on Friday, coming away with a 6-1 victory over Kansas State.
Columbia (5-2) jumped out to a strong start in doubles, blowing away the Wildcats (5-4) to earn the doubles point. On the third court, seniors Ioana Alecsiu and Tiana Takenaga bagled their counterparts, while No. 28 junior Crystal Leung and first-year Tina Jiang took their match 8-2 on the second court. With the doubles point decided, the match of the No. 17 pair of senior Bianca Sanon and sophomore Kanika Vaidya went unfinished.
“I was very pleased with the way they were able to come out and dominate in doubles,” head coach Ilene Weintraub, CC ’02, said. “We played aggressive, we played smart, and we won it very quickly. And I think that helped us get some momentum going into the singles.”
The Light Blue certainly kept the tide rolling in the one-on-one competition, winning five of six matches—each in straight sets. Only No. 59 Vaidya lost her singles match, 7-5, 6-2, to No. 82 Petra Niedermayerova in first singles.
On the second court, Sanon took out Maria Panaite 6-2, 6-2. Though the score doesn’t reflect it, the senior said she did not have an easy time handling her opponent, as her serve and backhand were both off throughout the match.
“I said, ‘My forehand’s working, so I just need to get my serve in and place myself on the court so I can just hit forehands,’” Sanon said. “It was a good strategy for me because I feel really confident in my forehand, so as long as that’s working for me I think I’ll be OK.”
But in general, this match was all Columbia. In eight of their 10 winning singles sets, the Lions surrendered two or fewer games to their Wildcat opponents. Weintraub credited the Light Blue for being more disciplined than it had been against Georgia State last week.
“And this team wasn’t bad,” Weintraub added of Kansas State. “They were very competitive and they were smart. They knew what to do. It’s just we were able to execute when we needed to.”
Weintraub said the Lions will have a light hit on Saturday to stay sharp before taking on No. 43 Memphis on Sunday morning.
“I look forward to our match on Sunday because that’s going to be a very big opportunity for us,” Weintraub said. “I think the girls are really prepared and they’re really hungry for Sunday’s match.”
The match against the Tigers will begin at 10 a.m. at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center.