Women’s Tennis: Three Wildcats still searching for individual glory

Rebecca Friedman

The season is not over for three Northwestern tennis players who will return to Athens, Ga., this week.

Junior Kate Turvy will battle in the NCAA Singles Championship, while sophomore Nida Hamilton and junior Linda Abu Mushrefova will participate as a pair in the NCAA Doubles Championships. Turvy is set to face off against No. 6 Jana Juricova of the University of California at Berkeley, the reigning national champion, while the duo of Hamilton and Abu Mushrefova will take on a team from the University of Florida.

Coming off a loss to Stanford University in the third round of the NCAA Team Championships, the Wildcats have focused on their individual play headed into their respective tournaments.

“After the loss to Stanford, we went home and took a day off, and then we just got back to working on the things we’ve been working on all year,” Turvy said.

Hamilton and Abu Mushrefova, who haven’t played doubles together since the beginning of the season, have worked on regaining the chemistry that propelled them to a 15-9 record as a pairing this season.

“We both play a similar style of doubles,” Abu Mushrefova said. “We’re both very aggressive. We have developed different strategies on different plays and have a pretty solid game plan.”

Hamilton said they play well as a pair because they both play such an aggressive style, which they plan to focus on during the tournament.

“We both really enjoy playing doubles,” Abu Mushrefova added.

The No. 28 pairing will face the No. 22 Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather of Florida, who won the team national title on Wednesday. The two are 27-3 on the season.

“We’ve been working on a bunch of different things all year,” Abu Mushrefova said. “Now it’s just about tying it all together and putting it all out on the line.”

As a pairing, Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton finished second at the ITA Midwest Regional Championship in the fall and made it to the semifinals of the ITA All-American Championships and ITA Indoor Championships.

Hamilton and Abu Mushrefova’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed by their teammates.

“Together they are a great team,” Turvy said. “It’s exciting for them. They have a great chance of beating any team in the nation.”

Turvy, who stepped up this season to take the vacated No. 1 singles spot, had a phenomenal year, with a 26-13 record overall and a 16-9 record in dual matches, while peaking at No. 11 on the ITA national rankings.

“She improved a lot from last year,” Hamilton said.

Abu Mushrefova also acknowledged how Turvy impressively stepped up and took control of the No. 1 role.

Turvy did not face Juricova this season, but she has faced 21 percent of the rest of her opponents in the tournament and finished with an 8-6 record against them.

“There are a lot of really good people in the tournament,” Turvy said. “I hope to have a really good first match and then some more good matches.”

Hamilton said she thinks Turvy has the potential to go deep.

“I’m really excited to see how she does in the tournament,” she said. “She’s already beaten a lot of the competition.” [email protected]northwestern.edu