SportsWomen's Tennis

Oregon beats Portland 5-2 in season-opener

In the opening match of its 2018 season, the Oregon women’s tennis team flew past the Portland Pilots in Eugene, as Oregon beat the Pilots 5-2.

Amid the first match nerves, the Ducks doubles pairs took care of business with two victories, sweeping the Pilots, and leaving the third doubles match unfinished.

“I think we (Alyssa Tobita and Shweta Sangwan) also had a little bit of that first match nervousness, but you know it’s expected, and I think that we kind of re-grouped after they got two games,” Tobita said. “I think we played well, and it feels natural and normal like always. So it was good to be back on the court and play a real match.”

The Ducks’ success would carry over into the singles matches, specifically under the efforts and Alyssa Tobita, Rifanty Kahfiani, and freshman standout Paiton Wagner. Tobita won 6-1, 6-0 in her match  against Jelena Lukic.

“Of course you play a little bit more free, but I think before the match we kind of have two things that we were focusing on, and I think I did that well,” Tobita said. “One of them was my serve, and that’s just all on me, and I am happy with how I did that.”

Kahfiani also won her singles match as well, beating Nina Nikitovic 6-1, 6-2.

Wagner showcased her wide variety of skill in her singles match against Emily Soares. Wagner took the first set with a score of 6-3 after a slow start giving up the first two games. In the second set, she only gave up one game, and finished with a score of 6-1 as the five-star recruit cruised to victory.

“Our freshmen were put in a tough spot and I think they did a very good job,” Sangwan said. “I am very proud of them, and very happy about how they reacted to the adversity that they were put in.”

Two of the Ducks’ singles matches went into a third set.

Daniela Nasser took the first set with a score of 6-3 against her freshman opponent Raphaelle Leblanc. Leblanc managed to turn the tables in the second set, winning 6-3. Leblanc’s momentum carried through to the tie-breaking third set in which she traded two points between every single score from Nasser.

After allowing Leblanc to go up 8-3 in the final set, Nasser found her second wind and tallied four scores in addition to Leblanc single score making it 9-7. Nevertheless, Leblanc was able to hold off Nasser and clinch the three set victory for herself, winning 10-7.

In Sangwan’s singles match against the from Bulgarian international Radina Dimitrova, Sangwan forced a third set tie-breaker after going 2-6 in the first set. Sangwan flipped the script in the second set taking six games and giving up two. In the tie-breaker Sangwan took over, and played confident to solidify her victory with a 10-5 score over Dimitrova.

“I think I was more relaxed than I used to be, last year,” Sangwan said. “As you know, I had the confidence. I was smiling the second and third set. I was like, ‘you know, I can do this.’ I believed in myself a lot more, and that really helped me.

“I would say my backhand definitely helped me a lot today. Backhand is one of my stronger shots. So I was able to use that well, and to my advantage. Then set up the points and use my forehand more. Also my slice I would say helped me a lot today.”

Following their opening match victory, the Ducks head to San Diego to take on USD on Sunday Jan. 21 at 11 a.m.

Follow Jack Taylor on Twitter @taylorjack36

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Jack Taylor

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