Harvard women’s tennis wrapped up the USTA Billie Jean Invitational in Flushing, N.Y. yesterday.
As a whole, the team did not perform as well as it would have liked, but the tournament provided many positives for the team.
“I think we’re going in the right direction,” co-captain Samantha Rosekrans said. “We only had half of our team here this weekend. We have a very deep squad this year, and we have strong leadership from the sophomores and juniors.”
“We have more experience this year,” the co-captain continued. “I think we will have a strong showing at regionals [starting Oct. 22].”
Rosekrans battled throughout the weekend, defeating Charleston Southern’s Marija Dzakovic, 6-1, 6-2, losing to Cornell’s Christina Ordaway in a tie break, 6-3, 5-7, 11-9, and also falling to Liberty’s Jordan Jenkins, 6-4, 6-1.
“I probably didn’t play the greatest, because I haven’t been practicing singles,” Rosekrans said. “But overall it was a good tournament. It’s a great experience to play at the U.S. Open courts, and the weather was great for us all weekend. The competition was pretty solid.”
Crimson coach Traci Green echoed this sentiment, also expressing confidence in the team’s captain.
“Sam hasn’t played a lot of singles this semester, so I feel like she’s still really rusty,” Green said. “She’s working on things in her game. I’m really not worried about her at all.”
Junior Samantha Gridley played the strongest in singles competition this weekend for Harvard, winning all three of her matches, as well as her flight.
Gridley defeated Army’s Annie Hang, 6-1, 6-1, in the quarterfinals, Columbia’s Tiana Takenaga in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-2, and Binghamton’s Marina Bykovskaya, 6-3, 7-5, in the final.
“I knew I wanted to be really focused and be consistent,” Gridley said. “I wanted to limit my errors. In the match, [Bykovskaya] was a little more feisty then the other opponents I played. She made a couple tight calls. In the end, it was a battle of will, but I was able to pull it out.”
Gridley, playing in her first tournament this year, was happy to start her season with such success. The junior was especially happy with her performance in the final, in which she came back from a 5-1 second-set deficit.
“It’s a confidence builder to win matches and tournaments. I know I can pull out a match when I’m down by a lot now. It gives me confidence that I can fight out any match.”
Gridley’s play equally impressed Green.
“Samantha Gridley competed extremely well this weekend,” Green said. “It was great to see that her hard work in practice paid off. She was great in all her matches, and she had that ‘never say die’ attitude throughout the tournament.”