Tijana Koprivica and Alexa Palen each captured individual titles at their respective singles flights to cap a near-perfect day for the Minnesota women's tennis team on Sunday at the Gopher Invitational.
Koprivica and Palen both lost the first set of their championship matches, but battled back for three-set wins. Koprivica bested teammate Alessandra Ferrazzi in the finals of the main draw 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, while Palen came back to beat Alexis Dorr of Iowa 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the title match of the second flight.
Ferrazzi's setback was Minnesota's only singles loss for the day and Koprivica and Ferrazzi suffered the only doubles defeat with an 8-6 loss to Madeleine Geibert and Steffi Weinstein of Nebraska in the main draw finals.
"It was a great way to start the season," Gophers' coach Tyler Thomson said. "A lot of people also have visibly improved since last year. Everyone carried themselves well and competed well. We've got a lot of things to be optimistic and proud about."
Thomson couldn't have been much prouder than to see two of his players battling for the singles title in the main draw for the second time in three years. Koprivica avenged a loss to Ferrazzi in the 2007 Gopher Invite finals with her three-set win. Palen also came through in a hard-fought match that lasted nearly three hours.
Two other Gophers pulled out three-set singles wins in consolation rounds on Sunday as Jackie Sperling battled back for a victory over Sampada Kanade of Northern Iowa 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 and Peta Forsyth managed a win over Kira Golenko of Buffalo 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Magdalena Wiecha completed the Gophers' strong singles performances with the team's most dominating win, rolling past Phobe Walker of Northern Iowa 6-2, 6-2 in a main draw consolation match.
Sperling and Palen clinched third place in their doubles flight by downing Walker and Laia Gonzalez of Northern Iowa 8-4. Wiecha and Forsyth beat Kanade and Alix Bex of Northern Iowa 8-4 in a consolation doubles match.
The Gophers have a weekend off before returning to action Oct. 9-11 at the Northwestern Invitational.