For the first time in Michigan history, three Wolverines were going to Orlando to compete in the NCAA Singles Tournament. However, with the three girls all ranked top-50 in the country, none of them made a serious run in the tournament.
Seniors Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor, who also teamed up in the doubles tournament, made their third appearance in the NCAA singles tournament, while junior Chiara Lommer made her debut.
Fahey was the No. 3 seed for the singles tournament, the highest seeding a Michigan player had ever earned. Her tournament performance, however, was quite uncharacteristic. Fahey, on a record-breaking winning streak, fell short to North Carolina’s Sara Daavettila on Monday.
She dropped a three-set match to bring an end to her incredible singles career. Fahey is Michigan’s all-time leader in singles wins (132) and winning percentage (.815) after a 38-6 senior season.
She lost, 6-3, in the first set, but broke serve to start the second before holding off two break points in her next service game. She then kept the distance the rest of the way, wrapping up a 6-4 win in the second set to even the match.
The third set, briefly interrupted due to heat caution, went back and forth until Fahey lost four straight games, eliminating her from the tournament.
Minor returned to the singles tournament for the first time since winning the 2017 NCAA singles title. She defeated No. 48-ranked Olivia Hauger of California, 6-1, 6-4, to advance past the first round.
It was all Minor in the first set as she raced out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back in the 6-1 first-set win. But she found herself in a 4-1 hole in the second before stringing together five consecutive games to pull out the victory.
The next round, Minor battled a hard-fought match, but ultimately fell to Illinois’ Asuka Kawai, ending her singles career at Michigan.
Lommer notched the first upset of Monday, defeating No. 4-ranked Ingrid Gamarra Martins from South Carolina. Lommer had a timely break in the first set, going up 4-3. Riding the momentum from there, she came away with a 6-3 first-set win. She then battled out the second set to win it, 6-3, as well.
“Everyone is super good in that tournament,” Lommer said. “I knew that whoever I was going to play in the first round was going to be a tough match. I was pretty excited to see how I was going to compare — you know, she plays (No.) 1 for a top SEC team, so I just wanted to see how I would level up against her. Honestly, I felt pretty good.”
Though she lost in the next round to Hawaii’s Petra Melounova, 6-4, 6-1, Lommer is optimistic for her final year and her career ahead.
“I think that I’m definitely ready for the challenge,” Lommer said. “I’m going to work on some areas of my game to make sure I’m totally ready for the transition. I’m excited. Of course I’m nervous, like, it’s always a big deal to try and play higher, but I’m definitely more excited than nervous. It’s a great opportunity and can hopefully transition to playing after school.”