In a weekend ripe with disappointment, sophomore Chiara Lommer was a highlight.
Though her team struggled as a whole, Lommer bested Ohio State’s Shiori Fukuda in singles play to capture the ITA Regional Championship on Tuesday.
The Michigan women’s tennis team entered the ITA Regional event with five players in the singles bracket and three doubles pairs. Outside of Lommer, the farthest any of the players or duos got was the quarterfinals.
“As a team we aren’t happy results-wise, but happy for Chiara,” said Michigan coach Ronnie Bernstein.
Lommer came in seeded 5-8 and proceeded to work her way through the early rounds of the tournament. she came out in the quarterfinals with a strong start against Illinois Mia Rabinowitz, beginning with a 3-0 lead in the first set and taking a break lead. The match was a long battle as each player had to grind and work for each point.
Lommer fought to a commanding 4-1 lead over Rabinowitz by using her forehand to her advantage, and her grit was evident from the first ball as she was able to take control of most points by making contact with most menacing shots. Lommer took the first set 6-3, and held an assertive 4-1 lead into the second set with a two-break lead. She ultimately won the second, 6-2.
Lommer’s exceptional play continued in the semifinals when she played another Illini in Emilee Duong. Lommer toughed out another commanding win with a 6-2, 6-2 straight-set win.
Lommer then faced Fukuda in the finals. Lommer’s first set may have looked like a breeze on paper, but there were four hardly fought deuce points that all went Lommer’s way, giving her a 6-0 win in the first set. Lommer fell behind in the second set, 1-3, but came storming back, winning five of the next six games to seal the singles championship.
“Chiara is smart and a great competitor, she’ll always be able to figure out her opponent on the court,” Bernstein said.
A surprise from the event was the fall of Michigan’s top-seeded doubles duo: Junior Kate Fahey and senior Alex Najarian. Fahey and Najarian were given a first round bye and won their second round with ease in an 8-1 pro-set victory. But, Fahey and Najarian fell to Corse and Spence of Notre Dame, 5-8, in a close fought third-round match.
“Kate and Alex lost a tough one yesterday, but they’re competitors and we’ll get better as the season goes on,” Bernstein said.
The Wolverines still have a handful of tournaments before entering into their season play and are looking to round out their team performance.