The Oregon women’s tennis team (6-6, 0-1) hosted No. 20 California for a Friday afternoon Pac-12 opener. The match did not go to plan for Oregon, not only dropping the doubles point, but also the first four singles matches in its 5-2 loss to Cal.
“With tennis, there’s a lot of momentum shifts,” Oregon head coach Courtney Nagle said. “Attitude goes a long way. Positive attitude and energy makes a big difference and that was, in a sense, what Cal showed today. They had a lot of energy throughout, and I thought that helped them. We need to get our energy up a little bit so we can sustain that throughout a whole match.”
Despite having already lost the dual, and trailing 5-0, Oregon's Paiton Wagner and Shweta Sangwan earned hard-fought, three-set victories, salvaging two points for Oregon.
Sangwan’s 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 (10-point tiebreak) win over No. 25 Julia Rosenqvist was the highlight of the match. Battling back to force the tiebreaking third set, Sangwan won the final two points to clinch the victory.
Even though she is now 6-0 in her senior year, Sangwan has been dealt some injuries this season. Friday’s victory, however, could figure to be a spark for her and her teammates.
“She was a little under the weather throughout the week,” Nagle said. “For her to be back on the court is huge for us. It helps us all the way down the singles. To get a win against a quality opponent like that is great for her individually, but it’s also great for us as a team.”
Sangwan’s win put all eyes on Wagner’s tie breaking third set against Maria Smith. Wagner avoided defeat countless times, overcoming a 5-2 deficit to make it 6-5.
Then, confusion began.
With the game tied at 40, Wagner hit a ball which Smith called long. However, the umpire overruled Smith, which was her fourth overruling. Added on to the game Wagner won from nailing her shot, she also was awarded the match with a 7-6 third-set win. Since Smith’s fourth overruled-call resulted in a game being awarded to the opponent, Wagner was given the tiebreaker.
Wagner was well aware of the rule and correctly argued for the win, which she was awarded after a brief meeting between umpires.
“Not when there’s a tiebreaker to be played,” Nagle said regarding whether she had ever seen a match be decided on a penalty like that. “I was very surprised that was the case. … I have seen it go to a game, but not have it end on that. That was unique.”
Oregon, in the midst of a three-dual losing streak, will next look to break its bad-run on Sunday, when it hosts No. 4 Stanford at 11 a.m. Following that tough matchup, the Ducks will travel to Washington to take on the No. 7 Washington Huskies on Friday, March 15, and the No. 28 Washington State Cougars two days later.
“There’s a lot of opportunity in front of us from now until the end of the season,” Nagle said. “We’re just working on continuing to build confidence through that and to take advantage of the opportunities that are there.”
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