The No. 9 Michigan women’s tennis team won its 31st straight Big Ten match, defeating Purdue, 5-2, a day after beating Indiana, 6-1. The Wolverines played at home for the first time since Feb. 20 on Saturday and got their first taste of competing in their outdoor stadium this season on Sunday.
“We felt like we’ve been gone a long time, and it’s always nice to come back and play in front of our fans,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “I’m really glad we got an outdoor match.”
In a doubles session in which all matches reached 5-4 scores, Purdue pulled out victories at No. 1 and No. 2, 7-5 and 6-4, respectively, to clinch the point. Play on court three was discontinued at 5-5.
Michigan senior Ronit Yurovsky, the No. 14 player in the country, came out strong in singles play. She took the first three games, two of them service breaks, before dropping the subsequent three games. At 3-3, and the game tied at 15-15, Yurovsky earned a huge point — landing a desperation lob from well beyond the baseline out of the reach of Purdue No. 1 Nicole Robinson. Robinson dropped serve in the game on a double fault. Yurovsky seized control of the set from there. On deuce point at 1-2 in the second set, Yurovsky hit a spectacular passing shot from deep in the court to even the set. She dropped only one more game the rest of the way, winning 6-3, 6-3.
“That forehand pass was huge,” Yurovsky said. “It definitely gave me a little bit of an edge, and I definitely gained some confidence. The game after that, I felt good and she kinda backed off a little bit.”
Freshman Kate Fahey fell behind early in the No. 3 singles match, 3-0, with Boilermaker junior Andjela Djokovic dictating play. Fahey earned a break at 3-0 when Djokovic double faulted, but gave it right back with a double fault of her own. She broke serve again to reach 4-2, but could not hold serve once in the first set, ultimately dropping it, 3-6, despite three service breaks.
Fahey started the second set by breaking serve and finally held serve to jump to a 2-0 lead. She steadied her service and Djokovic double faulted at 2-4, 40-40, screaming in disgust and hitting a ball into the back fence, drawing a warning from the chair. Fahey won the set 6-2, and the match, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
At No. 5, sophomore Alex Najarian dominated the first set, shutting out her opponent in short order. Purdue’s Deborah Suarez got on the board in the first game of the second set, but Najarian got an early break at 1-1, and overwhelmed her opponent, 6-0, 6-4.
Sophomore Mira Ruder-Hook outplayed Marta Ruedas-Burgos, 6-0, 6-0, in a match that took under an hour.
“(Winning 6-0, 6-0) is good in the sense that it shows consistency in terms of focus, and for me that’s key,” Ruder-Hook said. “This just helps me build confidence.”
No. 15 Brienne Minor, playing No. 2 singles, pulled out the first set, 6-3, in the longest first set of the day and comfortably cruised in the second set, earning her team-leading 25th win of the season, 6-3, 6-3.
Purdue senior Claudia Escribens defeated Wolverines sophomore Kara Hall, 6-3, 6-2.
Yurovsky won her 105th career match at Michigan, lifting her into fifth in victories of all time for Michigan women’s tennis. Emina Bektas (2012-2015) holds the record with 129.
“(Yurovsky’s) been amazing, great on the court, but off the court, too,” Bernstein said. “She fights hard and cares a lot about our program. She’s one of the best we’ve ever had.”
Michigan hasn’t lost a Big Ten match since 2013, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.