UCA women’s tennis pulled off a 6-1 win to start the 2016 season against Oral Roberts on Jan. 17 at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa.
Senior Nataly Yoo and Sophomore Amiru Shimoguchi slayed the first doubles match against Jovanna Antonijevic and Ceijenia Cornelius, 6-1.
The second match was not won as easily as Yoo and Shimoguchi’s, but Freshmen Xylia Chunan Xiang and Marli Van Heerdan snatched the win from Andrada Gordon and Petya Simeonova, 6-6 (9-7).
The final doubles match resulted in freshmen QiLi Ma and Rada Manataweewat completing the winning streak 6-2 against Ximena Puentes and Valentina Maya Gisbert.
In the first singles match, Yoo and Cornelius battled head-to-head with Yoo earning the win 6-2, 6-3.
Victory following Xiang into the second match as she defeated Antonijevic 6-0, 4-6, 10-2.
Ma last the third match against Simeonova with a consistent score of 4-6, 4-6.
In the fourth match, Shimoguchi was able to pull the team back up with a win of 6-4, 6-3 against Gordon.
The fifth match was easily won by Van Heerdan against opponent Gisbert with a solid 6-0, 6-2.
The winning streak continued on as Manataweewat slammed opponent Puentes by 6-2 in both sets of the final match.
Along with the new season, there is also a new rule regarding sets per match.
The rule requires a match to consist of six sets instead of eight. This causes players to give it their best shot as soon as the first ball is served.
“It’s going to make a difference how we come out and play from the get-go. We have to be very intense from the start,” Yoo said.
Yoo, who started playing tennis at the age of four, has been a Sugar Bear since Spring 2015.
Over the years, she has learned how to play to her opponent’s weaknesses. This tactic enables her to play not only stronger, but also smarter.
“I used to play just one way, hard and attacking all the time,” Yoo said. “Don’t get me wrong, I still do but when it’s necessary, I play to win.”
Her doubles partner, Shimoguchi, is very excited about her first wins as a Sugar Bear.
Shimoguchi has only been in America for two weeks and is proving her skill in the collegiate world of tennis.
“I think I can improve my skills [on]what I could not do for the first match,” Shimoguchi said. “I am practicing playing tennis everyday, so [a]good result is coming soon.”
The Sugar Bears will compete in their next games on Jan. 23 at noon in Denton at the University of North Texas.
The Bears look to clinch a win as they grow stronger in both singles and doubles play.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 20, 2016 print edition of The Echo.
image via UCA Athletics