Koprivica falls in quarters

The women’s tennis had some tough losses at the ITA Central Regional in Norman, Okla.

by Josh Katzenstein

After breezing through the first few rounds, MinnesotaâÄôs Tijana Koprivica saw her tournament run come to an end at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regional this weekend in Norman, Okla. The fifth-seeded Koprivica lost her quarterfinal match with OklahomaâÄôs Ana-Maria Constantinescu in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6. Constantinescu, the No. 3 seed, went on to win both the doubles and singles tournaments. This was the second time this season Koprivica has played Constantinescu, but SaturdayâÄôs loss was much closer than the first match. The two met in the beginning of October at the Cal Nike WomenâÄôs Invitational in Berkeley, Calif. and Koprivica fell 6-7(3), 3-6. Koprivica said The first match helped her prepare for SaturdayâÄôs contest and resulted in a much closer match. âÄúI think [Constantinescu] just managed to stay more focused toward the end, and I kind of departed from my game against her,âÄù Koprivica said. Gophers head coach Tyler Thomson said he thought Koprivica was playing well all weekend and thought she could have gone on to win had she beaten Constantinescu. âÄúShe played a great match but also learned things from it that can help her do well in our next tournament,âÄù Thomson said. Koprivica wasnâÄôt the only player to have a tough tournament exit. Junior Alessandra Ferrazzi ran into top-seeded Anouk Tigu of Arkansas in the round of 16. Ferrazzi put up a fight but fell in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 2-6. Freshman Alexa Palen also lost a three-setter to OklahomaâÄôs Marie-Pier Huet. After taking the first set 7-5, Palen couldnâÄôt take either the second or third falling 4-6, then 1-6 to Huet who eventually reached the semifinals. Despite PalenâÄôs second round loss, both Thomson and Koprivica said they have been impressed with the freshman thus far. Before falling to Huet, Palen upset the No. 4 seed Alexandra Kichoutkin of Tulsa, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Palen couldnâÄôt keep her tournament hopes alive in the second match, but based on how she has been playing, Thomson said he thinks she will have a bright future with the Gophers. âÄúWe all knew she was good, but sheâÄôs even better than we expected,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúSheâÄôs going to have a great career at Minnesota, and sheâÄôs already starting to show what sheâÄôs capable of.âÄù Sophomore Magdalena Wiecha was another victim of a three set loss, falling 6-4, 3-6, 3-6 in the second round. Senior Jackie Sperling and junior Peta Forsyth both failed to make it out of the first round. Overall, Thomson said he was impressed with his teamâÄôs singles performances. âÄúEveryone is playing well right now,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúI think everyone on the team walked away feeling optimism and confidence.âÄù While MinnesotaâÄôs singles matches were highlighted by close losses and upset victories, the doubles side was a little disappointing for the Gophers. The fifth-seeded tandem of Koprivica and Ferrazzi had the talent to make a deep run in the doubles draw. But after a convincing 8-1 win in the first round, their tournament lives came to an end with a 2-8 loss to Ewa Szatkowska and Anastasia Erofeeva of Tulsa. Koprivica said she had hoped the two of them could play well together but now the Gophers must go back to the drawing board to look for other duos that work. The Sperling-Forsyth team fell in the first round, but Palen and Wiecha worked well together in the doubles draw. The two reached the quarterfinals before losing a tough battle with the No. 1 seed 6-8. The women have next weekend off and next play Nov. 6 at the North Carolina Tournament. The menâÄôs ITA Central Regional went late Sunday, but two Gophers were still alive as of press time. Juniors Sebastian Gallego and Tobias Wernet both reached the quarterfinals and had matches Sunday. The menâÄôs final will be played on Monday.