Owls struggle at first day of Princeton Invitational

The Owls recorded just one win in 12 matches against Princeton University, Penn, and Syracuse in the first day of the tournament.

It was an eye-opening day for the women’s tennis team.

Temple finished its first day at the Princeton Invitational Friday with a 1-11 record in six singles and six doubles matches.

“It’s a tough competition,” assistant coach Frederika Girsang said. “We knew going in that this was going to be a challenge.”

Over the course of the three-day tournament, Temple will play matches against Princeton University, Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania, who they will also meet at the Cissie Leary Invitational Oct.2-4.

“They played better and we need to work on a lot of things,” Girsang said. “The good thing is we know what we need to work on.”

Friday, Temple played against Penn and Syracuse in doubles, and Princeton in singles to wrap up the day.

The tournament played its game-scoring format differently, with each game playing to no advantage and the double matches playing to one set. Girsang said the scoring style made it hard for the Owls to hold serve and recover after losing games they held leads in.

“The points were close,” Girsang said. “It slipped out of our hands with no [advantages], so we lost those games. But there’s no excuse, we give a lot of credit to those teams. ”

In doubles play against Syracuse, sophomores Alina Abdurakhimova and Yana Khon lost 6-2, while junior Anais Nussaume and senior Minami Okajima lost in third doubles 6-3. The lone win for the Owls on the day came from juniors Mariana Bedon and Dina Karina, who won their match 6-3.

In doubles action against Penn, Abdurakhimova and Khon lost 6-0. Bedon and Karina lost 7-5.  and the doubles pairing of Nussaume and Okajima lost in third doubles 6-4.

It was a big learning day for Abdurakhimova, who was playing first singles for the first time since last year.  She fell in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to Princeton’s Amanda Muliawan.

“[Abdurakhimova] played great but you need to have more tools to beat a good player,” Girsang said. “[Abdurakhimova’s] pretty responsive about what she needs to work on so hopefully we’ll get something out of this tournament.”

In other singles action, Khon lost at second singles, 6-2, 6-2, along with Nussaume at third singles, who fell 6-0, 6-3. The only three-set match of the day came in Bedon’s fourth singles match, where she won the opening set 6-2, but dropped the last two 6-3, 6-1.

At fifth and sixth singles, Karina fell in two tight sets, 7-5, 6-3, and Okajima lost 6-2, 6-4.

Temple will start its second day of the tournament with doubles against Princeton Saturday morning followed by singles in the afternoon against Syracuse.

“Tomorrow we have another chance to do our best again,” Girsang said. “There is a lot of room for improvement and that is encouraging.”

Mark McCormick can be reached at tuf31389@temple.edu

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