Sophomore Chiara Lommer arguably single-handedly led the Michigan women’s tennis team to a win, 5-2, against Minnesota on Friday, and she certainly contributed to the Wolverines’ 7-0 shutout win Sunday against Purdue.
On Friday, Lommer made an unlikely comeback. After dropping the first set 3-6, she won the next two sets, 7-5, 6-0. She stayed on the court and made her opponent work throughout every rally.
“Staying out on the court helped the other two people out there, ” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “She changed the outcome of that match just by never giving up. … She outcompeted that girl.”
Added Lommer: “I was just trying to make her play. That’s kinda what college tennis is about, making one more ball. It’s never over.
“At the end, I think I earned it and took it from her and she just couldn’t play anymore.”
Lommer commonly wears out her opponents, as if she is waiting for them to make a mistake or simply get too tired to continue.
On Sunday, Lommer played well again, with intention in both her singles and doubles play.
Lommer was closing in on the end of her match. She took advantage of her opponent Ena Babic’s slice shots to approach the net, forcing Babic to hit the ball wide and secure a 6-2, 6-3 win, and Michigan’s fifth overall point.
Lommer also played doubles with sophomore Lera Patiuk, but the game was eventually abandoned as the other two doubles teams had already won their respective matches.
“She never gives up… she’s a great competitor,” Bernstein said.
Lommer found her groove just in time for the Wolverines to return home.
“I think since we’ve been back in Big Ten season we have a different demeanor, too,” Lommer said, “Back on top … that’s where we belong.”
In order to help Michigan win the Big Ten, Lommer will need to remain in peak condition, and continue to grow her game.
“I think I need to improve my serve and return and just (stay) aggressive … Being dominant on the court,” Lommer said.
As Lommer continues to play on a higher level, her mental and physical toughness could help lead Michigan to new heights.
“This is the start to another Big Ten Championship,” she said.