If tennis was a one set sport then Michelle DaCosta would have had a short and unsuccessful weekend. In all of her three matches this weekend, DaCosta dropped the opening set only to come back from behind and win the final two in each match.

Her 3-0 record at the inaugural Michigan Invitational led the Wolverines to the best record of the weekend among the five teams attending.

Yesterday, DaCosta struggled through the first set dropping it 6-4 to Lisa D’Amelio of Eastern Michigan. With her back against the wall, DaCosta responded for the third straight day. She breezed through the final two sets, 6-0 and 6-1, dominating her opponent in all aspects of the game.

“She had a different style than I was used to,” DaCosta said. “She came to the net a lot more than my previous opponents had. That’s one of the reasons I couldn’t get that first set.”

The final sets were not so easy for DaCosta in her previous two matches.

Saturday, DaCosta got through tiebreakers in the final two sets to secure a victory against Jessica Furgeson of Louisiana State, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4).

Friday, DaCosta survived a second-set tiebreaker to win 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-2 against Courtney Steinbock of Kansas.

After the first set in each match, coach Bitsy Ritt came out to the court to provide some words of wisdom for her competitor.

“Today Coach told me that I needed more energy,” DaCosta said. “She also told me to be more of an aggressor and to try to serve better.”

The advice certainly seemed to prove useful.

DaCosta was just as successful in doubles competition as she was in her singles play. The region’s eighth-ranked duo of DaCosta and Leanne Rutherford also finished the invitational with a record of 3-0. The pair played together last year and seem to have hit their stride.

“Me and Leanne are playing great together right now,” DaCosta said. “We’ve developed a level of trust where we know almost exactly what the other will do. You reach a comfort zone when you have been playing with the same partner for a while.”

Rutherford, like DaCosta, ended the weekend undefeated. She also needed three sets to dispose of her Eastern Michigan opponent. After dropping the opening set 4-6, Rutherford rallied with her entire team watching to defeat Amalia Lincaru 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The Wolverines ended the invitational with a 17-3 record in singles and an 8-4 mark in doubles competition against Kansas, Wisconsin, Louisiana State and Eastern Michigan.

These records were the best among the five teams competing.

Besides DaCosta and Rutherford, Chrissie Nolan, Kim Plaushines and Joanne Musgrove also won all of their singles matches.

“This was a great start of the year,” DaCosta said. “We worked hard over the break, and it really showed this weekend.”

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