Men, women lose two at ITA Kickoff Opener

Dane Mizutani

Minnesota’s men’s tennis team won only four matches all weekend at the ITA Kickoff Opener in Athens, Ga.

The Gophers (1-2) struggled from the start and lost 5-2 to Virginia Commonwealth on Friday. Minnesota on Saturday fell to Vanderbilt 7-0.

“It was a good experience for our team,” head coach Geoff Young said. “Now we know what we need to work on in practice this week.”

Young said every player on the team can improve different elements of his game.

Minnesota kicked Friday off on the right foot against VCU and won two out of three doubles matches. Rok Bonin and Mathieu Froment continued their success as a pair and won 8-3 in easy fashion.

Wins were hard to find after that point, as Bonin was the lone player to earn a victory in singles against VCU.

In the consolation match with Vanderbilt, Bonin and Froment both sat out matches. Young said Bonin “has a bug that might be the flu,” and Froment had a foot problem that hindered his game. Froment only competed in doubles Saturday.

Young did not give a timetable on either player’s return, but he said he hopes to have them back for competition next week. 

Minnesota won one doubles match against Vanderbilt, its only victory of the afternoon.

Leandro Toledo and Juan Pablo Ramirez moved up to No. 1 doubles with Bonin out and defeated their competition.

“That’s really our No. 2 team beating their No. 1 team, so that was nice to see,” Young said.

The Gophers didn’t record a win on the singles side Saturday, but Young said he saw some good things out of a few players on the team.

He appeared satisfied to see both Jack Hamburg and Brendan Ruddock back on the court after both recovered from injuries.

He said for Hamburg and Ruddock, it’s “all about getting their legs back.”

Toledo moved up to play No. 1 singles in Bonin’s absence and pushed the No. 17 player in the nation to the limit. Toledo lost 7-6, 6-4, but he showed his capability to battle with the nation’s top-ranked players.

“He can beat anyone in the country, so I wasn’t surprised that he played him tough,” Young said.

Minnesota will look to rebound next weekend with matches against Tulsa and Arkansas.

Women lose

The No. 41 Gophers women’s tennis team lost both of its duals over the weekend at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in College Station, Texas.

Minnesota fell to No. 30 Arizona 5-2 on Saturday and then dropped a dual with No. 54 North Texas 4-3 on Sunday.

The Gophers (2-2) started out well with a win in doubles play against Arizona.

Minnesota captured two of three matches to earn the team point, but Aria Lambert was the only player to win on the singles side.

Lambert came back from a 6-1 loss in the first set and breezed through the final two sets with a gutty effort. She outlasted her opponent through a tiebreaker in the second set and finished the match by taking the third set 6-3.

It didn’t get much better for the Gophers on Sunday, as North Texas upset them in the consolation match.

The Gophers lost the doubles point as both the No. 1 and No. 3 pairings fell.

Minnesota and North Texas each won three matches apiece on the singles side, and doubles points proved to be the difference in the match.

The women’s team will face Louisville on Saturday.