The 29th-ranked Tennessee women’s tennis team won the first of three matches this weekend as they bested Purdue, 7-0, at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
The Lady Vols won the doubles point as Maia Haumuller and Tenika McGiffin won their fifth doubles match in a row, to a final score of 6-1. Rebeka Mertena and Johanna Silva also won their doubles match, 6-2. Sadie Hammond and Kaitlin Staines did not finish their doubles match.
In singles, Haumuller continued her torrid pace as she beat Zala Dovnik 6-0, 7-5, which secured the win for Tennessee. The SEC Co-Freshman of the Week has sported a 6-0 record dating back to last weekend's battle with Indiana and South Florida.
“Maia wins the first set, somewhat easily and then has to fight through a very tough second set, win it, and escape without having to play a third set really sticks out to me,” Tennessee head coach Alison Ojeda said. “This shows the signs of a really strong and tough competitor.”
Four of the six singles matches went to three sets.
Hammond had an impressive win over 17th-ranked Silvia Ambrosio, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. This was the first time this season that Hammond has beaten a ranked opponent.
Kaitlin Staines had a battle of her own as she was down 4-1 in the first set, but came back to win the set and eventually the match 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 over Ena Babic.
"I was down 4-1 in the first set, but at the same time, I felt like I had so many chances in the first set that I could have easily been up 4-1,” Staines said. “I think just staying mentally tough and just keep digging helped me get through it."
Silva, the ITA’s No. 121 ranked singles player, has now won 18 of her past 20 singles matches after today's victory over Seira Shimizu, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
"Something on every single court stuck out to me today," Ojeda said. "The girls did an awesome job getting the doubles point under their belt and going out into singles, the goal was for everyone to fight as if the match was coming down to them.
“They are a really good team and the reality is that this could have easily been a 4-3 match.”
Tennessee continues its weekend play at Goodfriend Tennis Center this Sunday for a doubleheader against UT Martin and ETSU at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
“I expect two teams to come out and swing freely. They have nothing to lose so they are gonna come out and try to beat us and they are gonna play at their very best,” Ojeda said. “We right now need to rest, regroup, and hone some things that kind of got away from us to be better prepared for tomorrow.”
UT Martin is 1-3 overall and have yet to play a home game. ETSU will play its first Power 5 team this season. ETSU comes into Knoxville with a 5-4 overall record, a singles record of 30-19, and a doubles record of 10-12.