Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Women’s Tennis: Northwestern wins at Minnesota, falls at home versus Wisconsin in dramatic weekend

Henry Frieman/The Daily Northwestern
Graduate student Christina Hand gets ready to serve against Wisconsin. Hand went 4-0 this weekend in singles and doubles without dropping a set.

Following a defeat in Urbana the weekend prior, Northwestern took on No. 30 Wisconsin at home and Minnesota on the road.

Friday afternoon’s matchup against the Badgers came down to the wire on Combe Tennis Center’s court two. Ultimately, Wisconsin (16-2, 7-0 Big Ten) edged the ’Cats (14-6, 5-2 Big Ten) 4-3.

In a similar fashion in their match against Illinois six days prior, NU jumped to an early 1-0 lead by capturing the doubles point.

The ’Cats’ No. 1 doubles pairing of graduate student Christina Hand and senior Justine Leong — ranked as the No. 39 doubles team in the nation — handily defeated Maria Sholokhova and Xinyu Cai 6-0.

Shortly after, the No. 3 duo of senior Maria Shusharina and graduate student Britany Lau secured the doubles point for NU with its 6-2 victory over Ellison Reynoldson and Ava Martin. The ’Cats’ No. 2 pairing of junior Sydney Pratt and freshman Neena Feldman was up 4-3 when their match was called.

Singles play commenced, and it was immediately evident that the matchup would be a narrow one. Over the course of the six matches, NU nabbed just two of the opening sets.

No. 1 Shusharina dominated Alina Mukhortova 6-3, 6-0. No. 2 Leong’s match was the next to conclude, and she lost to Sholokhova — the No. 78 ranked singles player in the country — 6-2, 6-1. Sholokhova is typically Wisconsin’s No. 1 but played in the No. 2 slot against the ’Cats.

NU dropped the next two matches, as No. 5 junior Kiley Rabjohns lost 6-2, 6-2, and No. 6 Lau was defeated 6-3, 6-4. Following No. 4 Hand’s 6-3, 6-3 victory, the match was evened up at 3-3.

Fans and players alike migrated toward court two to watch the conclusion of No. 3 Pratt’s match against Taylor Cataldi. After losing the first set 7-5, Pratt seemingly had life once again when she broke Cataldi’s serve to even the second set at 4-4. In a nailbiter, Pratt fell 7-5, 6-4 as the Badgers left Evanston victorious and remained undefeated in Big Ten play. It was Pratt’s first match this season playing at the No. 3 slot.

Following the loss, the ’Cats’ weekend continued in Minneapolis. It was all NU, as the visitors dominated Minnesota (10-9, 3-4 Big Ten) 7-0.

The ’Cats wasted no time winning the doubles point. The No. 1 doubles slot of Hand and Leong played like a top 40 doubles team yet again, notching a 6-1 victory over Anali Kocevar and Emma Belluomini.

The No. 3 pairing of Shusharina and Lau also won 6-1. NU dominated doubles throughout the weekend, only dropping 4 games among the four completed matches.

After winning only two of the six singles matches in Friday’s tilt, the ’Cats flipped the script by sweeping the Golden Gophers in singles play.

No. 6 Lau kicked off for the visitors by beating Sofia Pinto 6-4, 6-2, avenging her loss from two days prior. No. 2 Leong quickly did the same as she defeated Kocevar 6-3, 6-4, ending her four match losing streak in singles play. No. 4 Hand clinched the victory for NU with her 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Match play continued despite the ’Cats having already secured the victory, and each of the three remaining matches was neck-and-neck. 

No. 5 Rabjohns came out victorious 6-4, 1-6, [13-11]. It took five gritty match points for Rabjohns to close out Zeyneb Sarioglan. Two courts over, Pratt played her second match of the season at the No. 3 for NU. In a contested battle, the junior overcame a one set deficit to win 2-6, 7-6(4), [11-9] against Aiva Schmitz.

Much like Friday afternoon, spectators crowded to watch the conclusion of the final match, although this one didn’t hold nearly the same stakes that it did days earlier.

No. 1 Shusharina did her best Pratt impression, fighting back from down a set to secure a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Mia Liepert. The match extended her win streak to seven, six of which came at the No. 1 slot. It was the first time that she won a match after losing the first set since February 2022.

Following a 1-1 weekend, the ’Cats are set to host Purdue in the Combe Tennis Center Friday.

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X: @CharlieSpungin

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