It was a strong finish to the Michigan women’s tennis preseason.
Freshman Emina Bektas was in Flushing, N.Y. at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships this weekend while the rest of the Wolverines were in Tempe, Ariz. at the non-scoring ASU Thunderbird Invitational.
Bektas, ranked No. 9 in the national freshman poll, earned her spot at the exclusive fall tournament after capturing the title at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships last weekend. The win helped her earn her first Big Ten Athlete of the Week award and one of just 32 spots in the tournament.
“Just for her to get there as a freshman has never been done at Michigan,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “I’m really proud of that.”
Bektas went 0-2 in her appearance at the tournament, dropping a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 heartbreaker to Florida’s No. 5 Lauren Embree in the opening round and then falling to Maryland’s Cristina Stance 6-2, 6-3 in the consolation bracket.
“She lost a tough first round,” Bernstein said. “She’s playing against the top kids in the country so hopefully next time (she) can do a little bit better.”
Meanwhile in Arizona, the rest of the team started slow but ended its impressive preseason with strong play from everybody.
“This was definitely a good weekend for us,” Bernstein said. “I’m pretty happy with the results.”
In the first round, the Wolverines dropped three of five singles matches and both doubles matches. But the team found its rhythm in the consolation bracket, splitting its six singles matches and winning both doubles matches on the second day.
On day three, Michigan turned the weekend around, winning all of its Sunday matches.
Freshman Sara Lee and senior Michelle Sulahian led the way with three singles victories each. The most impressive victory of the weekend came from Lee in the opening round, when she defeated San Diego’s No. 55 Stephanie Hoffpaui, 6-3, 6-4.
On Sunday, the freshmen led the way. Lee dominated her opponent, 6-1, 6-3, and Kristen Dodge did the same with a 7-5, 6-0 rout of Ohio State’s Kelsey Haviland.
“I really think our freshman have done a good job for us after we lost four seniors from last year,” Bernstein said. “I’m really pleased with how far they have come.”
As the team prepares for the start of the regular season in January, there is a lot for Michigan to look forward to.
“We’ve played some really good events against some quality opponents,” Bernstein said. “I really think we are in good shape.”