Oregon women’s tennis defeats Washington in Pac-12 opener
Oregon women’s tennis freshman Paiton Wagner grew up a Washington fan.
“Getting the win today was pretty sweet,” she said. “I’m a very competitive person. I even woke up on Monday morning just like, ‘This is the week, we’ve got this.’”
She and the team did have it, beating No. 33 Washington 5-2 in the Ducks’ Pac-12 opener on Friday. It’s the third straight season the Ducks (10-3) have opened Pac-12 play against the Washington schools, and it’s now the third straight year they’ve defeated the Huskies.
“They’re a tough team, very well coached and to come out today with a victory is wonderful confidence for our team,” Oregon coach Alison Silverio said. “For our girls, we’ve been talking about all season, preparing all season for these moments and it was exciting for us to be tough in the tough situations and pull through.”
The No. 21 Oregon Ducks won the doubles point. Alyssa Tobita and Rifanty Kahfiana as well as Nia Rose and Wagner won their matches 6-1 and 6-4, respectively.
Sangwan and Eshet didn’t finish their match, in which they trailed 4-5.
Rose and Wagner had a 5-2 lead in their match, but strong push back and a break from Stacey Fung and Alexis Prokopuik gave Washington a chance. But, thanks to solid play at the net from Rose, Oregon won the match and clinched the doubles point.
The Ducks went on to win four of the singles matches, dropping two that ended in first-to-10 tiebreak third sets.
Wagner won her singles match against Katarina Kopcalic 7-5, 6-3, and in both sets she trailed Kopcalic 0-3 to start each of her sets.
“The girl came out strong,” Wagner said. “I just tried to stay calm. In the second set, I knew I’d lost the first three games but I knew that she had a breaking point and that’s what we’ve been working a lot on.”
Fellow freshman Julia Lilien played a long match against Washington senior Miki Kobayashi. Lilien dropped the first set 4-6 but ran away with the second set 6-1 before taking the third 6-4.
For Oregon senior Tobita, a match against the No. 14 singles player Fung loomed. After winning the first set 6-4, Tobita dropped the second 4-6. The match went to a 10-point tiebreak in the third set as Oregon had clinched the win. Tobita lost the tiebreak 7-10.
“Didn’t go her way today but she’s playing the right way and this match is going to show up later in the season and she’s going to be on the winning side,” Silverio said.
The match was played on the outdoor courts due to Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rules that state when the temperature is above 50 degrees for a two-hour period during the match and there is no rain, the match is played outside.
“It’s slower outside. It usually can take a while to adjust,” Wagner said. “I was just so proud of the way we let our team adjust and didn’t let that get in our heads and we came out strong and we just shut them down today.”
The Ducks will have a quick turnaround to Sunday’s match against Washington State, which is expected to once again be played outside.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.