March 1, 2014
After a 2-1 weekend that included a pair of shutout victories against Iowa State and Carleton, the Minnesota women's tennis team will travel to Madison, Wis. to take on Big Ten rival Wisconsin in the teams' conference-opening match Sunday at 12 p.m. at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
After jumping out to its 4-0 start since 1997, the Gophers have dropped matches to Washington State and nationally-ranked foes Oklahoma State and Marshall, but have also added wins against Montana, Oregon, Iowa State, and Carleton. Tereza Brichacova has led the team at No. 1 singles, going 5-4 at the position and 6-4 overall. Julia Courter is 9-1 on the season in both singles and doubles.
Wisconsin, which plays 37th-ranked DePaul Saturday, comes into the weekend with a 4-2 record thanks in large part to a 3-0 start to the season. The Badgers, 2-1 at home, are led by Lauren Chypyha, who is off to a 6-0 start in singles at the top position. Lauren Burich, who is 4-2 with a 3-2 mark at No. 2 singles, has been involved in the top doubles flight in all six of the team's matches, is 5-1 with partners Nova Patel and Sydney Rider. UW is 24-12 in dual-match singles and is 13-5 in doubles.
Against the Badgers
Minnesota trails in the all-time series against their Border Battle rivals, 38-16, but downed the Badgers 7-0 the last time the two teams met in 2013 and also pulled out a victory in its last trip to Madison in 2012.
Looking for Road Wins
Seven of Minnesota's eight victories this season have come at home. The Gophers have been tough to beat at the Baseline Tennis Center under Minnesota alum Chuck Merzbacher--in one-plus season with Merzbacher at the helm, the team is 15-5 at its own facility. After going winless on the road in 2013, the Gophers have won their only road match of this season with a 7-0 triumph against Montana.
The Gophers look improved thus far in doubles competition. Through the first six matches, the team had swept all six doubles competitions in which it played before it dropped a pair of matches against Oklahoma State Feb. 21. After going 32-32 in dual-match doubles play in 2013, the Maroon and Gold is 25-5 to start this season. Julia Courter and Natallia Pintusava are 9-1 after an 8-0 start.
Match Format Changes
The experimental scoring format using to begin the college tennis season has reverted back to the old system as of Feb. 10 for the women. From this point forward, there will be three doubles matches are played to eight-game pro-sets and the team winning at least two of the matches gets one team point. If the pro-set is tied 7-7, a seven-point tiebreaker is played.
Six singles matches are then played and each are worth one team point. The matches are best-of-three sets with tiebreakers played to seven points if the set is tied 6-6. Once a team has reached four team points, it has clinched the team victory. The remaining matches are completed with a 10-point match tiebreaker played in place of a third set.