Doubles struggles: Minnesota continues tune-up season at UNLV Invitational winless in duos

The Gophers doubles teams were a combined 0-8 in the flighted tournament over the weekend.

by Mike Mullen

If the idea is to learn from your losses, then Minnesota’s women’s tennis team just got a crash course in doubles.

The Gophers went 0-8 in doubles play at the UNLV Invitational over the weekend in Las Vegas.

“Our doubles as a whole is something we need to work on,” coach Tyler Thomson said. “All things considered, we’ve only really had three or four tennis practices. So I’m not surprised we need to work on (doubles).”

In singles action, Minnesota had three players win in the first round of their flights, including Nischela Reddy’s 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win in the top flight over Louisiana State’s Amanda Mang. Mang came into the tournament ranked No. 120 in the national singles rankings.

“That was much more of a mental game,” Reddy said. “I learned some things, like how to put pressure on my opponent mentally – things like body language and knowing when I could do things to put pressure on.”

Reddy lost 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinal round to Elena Gantcheva, Nevada-Las Vegas’ top player. Thomson said Reddy played a good tournament, but he could still see parts of her game that need work.

“(Her play) was encouraging in many ways,” Thomson said. “But she needs to stay focused. She had some lapses where she wasn’t focused.

“And her serve was struggling. Considering that, I’d say she played well.”

The other two Gophers to reach the semifinals were Jane Anderson in the third flight and Marina Bugaenco in the fourth. Reddy, Anderson and Bugaenco all lost in the semis and won their consolation matches Sunday.

As for doubles, Reddy said the tournament’s setup – with doubles following singles – led to fatigue. But she said other factors were also involved in Minnesota’s struggles.

“I felt very good about our doubles after (last weekend’s Gopher Invitational),” Reddy said. “But this weekend, we weren’t as aggressive. And I didn’t feel as confident at the net as I did last weekend.”

Thomson said Minnesota will use its four-week break before the Midwest Regional tournament to work on its weaknesses.

“This tournament was good in the sense that we learned a lot,” Thomson said. “(The break) gives us time to work on some things we discovered here.”