The Michigan women’s tennis team competed in the Oracle ITA Fall Championships — a five-day tournament in Surprise, Ariz. last week. The tournament was an elite event, composed only of regional finalists and marked the close of the fall competition for the Wolverines.
Michigan sent four team members to compete in the tournament — seniors Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor and juniors Chiara Lommer and Giulia Pairone.
“We were fortunate enough to have four girls make it into this event and compete,” said Michigan associate head coach Teryn Ashley-Fitch. “It definitely helped them to have their teammates competing next to them. I feel like it pushed the girls to really want to do well. So, even though it was an individual event, it almost felt like a team event.”
Fahey entered the tournament as a serious competitor. She came into the tournament having reached the 2018 Oracle ITA Masters semifinals and also ranked as the No. 11 seed in the singles draw.
Winning four back to back matches, Fahey advanced to Sunday’s finals. There, she lost to Georgia’s Katarina Jokic with a final score of 6-3, 7-5.
“Kate is just so mentally tough,” Ashley-Fitch said. “She practices at a very high level. She is so consistent with her effort everyday in practice, and it’s paying off.”
Fahey also competed in doubles with Minor. The pair was coming off a strong performance at the ITA Midwest Regionals, where they won the doubles title.
The pair won in the first round on Wednesday beating Florida's doubles team, McCartney Kessler and Victoria Emma, 6-2, 7-6 (7). Then on Thursday, against a doubles team from UCLA doubles team, the duo fell (7-5, 6-3).
“Kate and Bri got a good win in the first round. When they’re good, I feel like they’re one of the best teams out there,” Ashley-Fitch said. “They trust each other a lot on the court. There are still a few things we need to work on, like staying aggressive and being less predictable.”
In singles competition, Pairone and Lommer also competed. Pairone lost in the second round to Alabama’s Ann Daniell (2-6, 6-3, 6-1), and Lommer fell in the first round to Southern California’s Salma Ewing (7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (2)).
Lommer, however, shined in the singles consolation play. Lommer cruised through the tournament to compete in the finals against Standford’s Emily Arbuthnott but lost to Arbuthnott with a final score of 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“Chiara had some quality wins,” Ashley-Fitch said. “She is so mentally sound, and I think she is going to play a huge part in our team season starting in January.”
The Wolverines certainly played up to the tough competition. The confidence and enthusiasm derived from this strong performance could certainly bleed into the team’s work ethic during winter play.