The Harvard women’s tennis team went bicoastal for the weekend.
While junior co-captains, Kristin Norton and Hideko Tachibana, headed west to compete as a doubles team at the Riviera/Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championship in California, the remaining Crimson women traveled to Flushing Meadows, N.Y., last Friday for the USTA Billie Jean King Invitational.
The USTA tournament featured 156 collegiate players from across the country, including representatives from every Ivy League school except Penn. In this formidable field of competitors, Harvard wielded a strong performance. The Crimson women played in six different singles draws and three various doubles draws.
USTA BILLIE JEAN KING INVITATIONAL
Harvard sophomore Hannah Morrill won her first two matches in the A draw before Olga Makhova of Charleston Southern University defeated her in the round of 16.
Freshman Sylvia Li and junior Camille Jania were also standout players in the tournament.
Playing in the C singles draw, Li defeated her first two competitors in straight sets before facing a more challenging opponent: Princeton’s Katherine Flanigan, seeded third in her portion of the draw.
“I had played her before because we are both from California,” Li said. “I kind of knew what to expect, although her game has changed a bit in college. It was a tough match, and she played really well. We both fought very hard; her game and mine match up well. But this weekend, she had the advantage.”
Jania, seeded third in singles draw B, also had a strong showing.
“Every match was a learning experience,” Jania said. “Every time I went on the court, I just wanted to do better than in the last match and improve on something that I was struggling with. No matter what kind of point occurred, I wanted to have positive energy and move on to the next point.”
The junior won two straight matches to make it to the semifinals. She was then defeated by Columbia’s Bianca Sanon in a tough, three-set contest, 6-1, 5-7, 12-10.
“The first set was really decisive of who was the better player,” Jania said. “I was kind of doubting myself after it.”
After the first set, Jania and her coaches were able to analyze her opponent’s game and create opportunities for Jania to win points, allowing her to take the second.
“After analytically approaching the game, I was able to figure her out and hit better shots,” Jania said. “Then in the tie-break, it was close the entire way. She was always in it, never backing down. She was a tough opponent and drove me to step up my game every single time. I just came up a little bit short. She wanted it more than me today.”
Jania also excelled in doubles play, partnering with junior Alexandra Lehman. The duo made it to the semifinals of the B bracket, where they were defeated by Nadia Lee and Franziska Sprinkmeyer of Northern Texas University.