After experiencing an up and down season, the Michigan women’s tennis team has finally put together a winning streak – its longest of the season.
The 29th-ranked Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten, 6-4 overall) have now won four-straight matches after easily dispatching Wisconsin, 7-0, and Marquette, 6-1, this weekend.
In two dominating performances, Michigan dropped just one singles match and one doubles match.
It was a welcome sign of improvement, since the team had focused on doubles play lately.
“We’ve been working on doubles in practice,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “We’ve been emphasizing moving well on the court, getting in their first serves and having good returns.”
The extra work paid off. The Wolverines secured both doubles points, giving the team some much-needed momentum in both matches.
In singles play, No. 55 Chisako Sugiyama extended her personal winning streak to five matches by defeating Erin Watkins in straight sets (6-2, 6-3). The junior also clinched her 70th-career singles victory against Wisconsin junior Elizabeth Carpenter (6-2, 6-1).
“Chisako is showing good consistency,” Bernstein said. “She’s never played at No. 1 (singles) the entire season, so this is great for her. It’s nice to know you can usually get a team point from her.”
In addition to strong play from the veterans, freshman Whitney Taney also played a role in this weekend’s blow-out.
Taney went undefeated in her four total matches despite sitting out of practice last week with a tender shoulder.
“For a freshman, she is playing real solid,” Bernstein said. “She’s had some shoulder problems, but after taking some time off after the Hawaii match (Feb. 28), she is still proving she’s tough to beat.”
One notable trend in Taney’s game has been her ability to perform at the No. 2 singles spot, a position where she has won four of five matches.
But Taney said, she hasn’t let the spot get to her head.
“I try not to think about it, it just adds more pressure,” Taney said. “I’m just focusing on my opponent and trying to get the team point.”
Michigan’s conference win over Wisconsin was much needed. With the Wolverines trying to secure the highest-possible seed in the Big Ten Tournament, every conference win is of the utmost importance.
The Wolverines will look to extend its winning streak to five matches Wednesday, when they host Western Michigan. Michigan edged the Broncos, 4-3, last year.