Shweta Sangwan loves playing in the big moments. She had a three-set win over Cal last week and looked on point to do the same against No. 4 Stanford for the Pac-12 home opener on Sunday.
In singles action, Sangwan was once again the last Oregon player to go down swinging. With teammates cheering her on, Sangwan played the closest match of the day against the Cardinal’s stacked singles team. Against Melissa Lord, ranked No. 41 in the nation, Sangwan dropped the first set 6-3, and briefly held a 4-3 lead in the second set.
Lord got multiple points off Sangwan by forcing her onto one side, then burying an unreachable shot in the opposite corner. She stayed composed and won the next three games to win the match 6-4.
“Lord’s a player who is extremely experienced in big moments,” Oregon head coach Courtney Nagle said. “She knows how to play under pressure and she really plays an aggressive style game. I think Shweta did a good job of making her play extra balls and being aggressive when she could.”
Stanford is well represented on the International Tennis Association rankings for both singles and doubles. All six singles are ranked, which Emily Arbuthnott lowest at No. 17, while Emma Higuchi is the highest at No. 63. The Cardinal have dominated Pac-12 play for years. With a 7-0 win over the Ducks, they now have 28 straight conference wins, a streak that goes back to March 2016.
Daniela Nasser had an tough matchup against No. 51 Caroline Lampl. Nasser, who has been struggling with a back injury, lost 6-2, 6-1 against Lampl, whose command was on point as she forced Nasser across the court
“Lampl played some unbelievable tennis,” Nagle said. “If she wanted to hit the ball on a dime she was able to do that today.”
Stanford got its first singles point of the day after Emma Higuchi 6-2, 6-2 victory over Taryn Fujimori. Rifanty Kahfiani lost 6-3 in both sets against Arbuthnott. Freshman Allison Mulville was outmatched by Janice Shin, losing 6-1, 6-2.
The Ducks challenged Stanford in doubles play, but ultimately the Cardinal’s depth proved too much and they took a 1-0 lead to start the day.
With Sangwan was unable to play doubles, Rifanty Kahfiani partnered with Mulville and beat Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon 6-3, the No. 20 team in the country. Kahaani controlled the play at the net the entire match. However, Nasser and Paiton Wagner fell to No. 11 Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Lee 6-4, and Fujimori and Julia Eshet lost 6-2.
“For us to be in position on almost all three courts 2-0 to start is something we look to do every match,” Nagle said. “For us to do that against Stanford, I was very pleased to get us in position to where it was coming down to the last match was huge for our doubles.”
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