Women’s tennis nets home win

Mark Heller

In preparation for the upcoming barrage of Big Ten opponents, the Gophers women’s tennis team needed to establish some momentum and reacquaint themselves to being at home.
Minnesota did that and more Friday night, when it obliterated Drake 7-0 at the 98th Street Racquet Club in Bloomington.
The Gophers have now won four of their last five matches, and improved to 9-5, 4-0 in the Big Ten and 4-1 at home.
After winning the doubles point first, the Gophers needed only three wins in singles for victory.
They got all six. No one from Drake won more than 3 games.
“This builds confidence for us,” said Helen Wang, who defeated Bridgette Komaincki 6-0, 6-0. “It’s a long year and it’s nice to know we can still play this well.”
Gophers coach Martin Novak was also impressed by the manner in which his team won.
“I’m really proud of them,” Novak said. “We didn’t just back into victory, we really pursued it. We played really well today.”
The Gophers now face six consecutive Big Ten opponents, starting with Michigan on Friday. The good news is that they are home for the first four.
“It’s nice to be home,” Novak said. “We’ve been on the road for a long time (the last five matches). You can sleep in your own bed and be in your own environment. We should be a little fresher.”
The match never seemed to be in doubt. Nora Souska and Alice Rangsithienchai teamed up for an easy 8-2 victory. Jana Hrdinova and Jennifer Hayes also won 8-2, giving the Gophers the doubles point.
In singles, it was all Minnesota as it beat up on a player-shortened Drake squad, which fell to 2-15.
Despite the easy victory and potentially crucial matches against Wisconsin and Michigan State, Novak said he is not thinking down the road.
“There are no easy matches now,” Novak said. “We’re targets. We’ve got to focus on one match at a time. If you start looking past your next opponent, you lose the rhythm. My job is to not look ahead.”
Friday’s victory also gives Novak more confidence in his players down the stretch.
“I feel good,” he said. “I feel if someone is going to contend with us, they’re going to have to produce some stuff. We’ll see.”