In college tennis, the one point from a victory in doubles play seems insignificant considering teams need four points to win the match, but as the Michigan women’s tennis team found, winning doubles comes with various benefits.
The 11th-ranked Wolverines faced off against Rutgers on Saturday and Maryland on Sunday in two Big Ten matchups. In both matches, Michigan won the doubles point and went on to win, 7-0 and 6-1, respectively.
“When you win the doubles point, you’re more likely to win overall,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “It is tough to win four singles. It’s not impossible, but in our four losses this year, we lost the doubles point.”
At the No. 1 slot, freshmen Brienne Minor and Kate Fahey ousted their foes with an early 5-0 game surge. Then, sophomores Alex Najarian and Mira Ruder-Hook prevailed with a 6-2 outcome in the No. 2 pairing.
The sophomore duo’s victory secured the doubles point and gave Michigan a crucial early advantage.
“In terms of momentum, having positive energy going into the singles is really key,” Fahey said. “Against Duke, we lost the doubles point and were down, but this weekend the doubles point really helped us.”
Doubles matches come first, so their outcomes can affect the team in the singles portion of the match. If a player makes various mistakes in the first, they may be prone to make those mistakes in the higher-stakes singles matches.
“There’s a big difference in the match going in (to the singles) being down 0-1 or being up 1-0,” said senior Ronit Yurovsky. “Especially when the match gets close, that one point could be a deciding point. It gives you a bit of a momentum shift — you feel good going into the singles match.”
It is no surprise then, according to Yurovsky’s theory, that the Wolverines grabbed five wins and one loss in the singles matches after defeating the Terrapins in doubles play. With that majority of points, Michigan triumphed over Maryland to notch its eighth-straight win.
The Wolverines are tied for first in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Northwestern, and will look to continue to use the doubles point as a catalyst for success.