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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Sports

UH tennis focusing on confidence, better poise for AAC Tournament


UH tennis head coach Helena Besovic (right) talks to senior Mimi Kendall-Woseley. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH tennis head coach Helena Besovic (right) talks to senior Mimi Kendall-Woseley. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The Houston tennis team sat just one doubles match away from taking the initial point against SMU on April 11. Failing to close it in the final set that made the match so tight, the pair of senior Phonexay Chitdara and junior Sophie Gerits fell 12-10 in the tiebreaker.

This gave the Mustangs the point that changed everything, allowing them to take the advantage in the singles exhibition that went back and forth, and allowed SMU to end it in singles, with sophomore Azul Pedemonti’s match going unfinished, though she led in the tiebreaking set.

“In doubles, we need to be more confident,t and step up and closing the opportunities. We had a lot of opportunities to win the doubles point, (but) we got passive,” head coach Helena Besovic said, reflecting on the late loss.

Points were left on the table, and Besovic knows that to succeed in the upcoming American Athletic Conference Tournament, her team will have to remember the lesson learned from the stinging losses to SMU.

“It’s about experience with being in those situations. Now we know how it feels feeling that pressure,” Besovic said. “We have to believe in ourselves next time and take those points.”

The tight doubles match that the UH tennis team failed to close proved to be the decider in the match.

With the season winding down and the tournament around the corner, Besovic believed the meeting with the No. 37 Rice Owls was the next test to prove themselves, given Rice put up a similar fight and also lost against SMU a few weeks prior.

“That will be a good match for us going into the tournament next week,” Besovic said before facing off against the Owls. “We have been working hard this week and that will be a good match for us going into the (AAC) tournament.”

However, her team came out flat, losing 5-0 in another match where they split doubles and couldn’t close out matches again in singles, making it another tough loss.

As the AAC Tournament approaches, the Cougars know that it will likely need to get past SMU to win it all. The question remains whether the Cougars will be able to beat them, but Besovic remains confident her team can.

The UH tennis team will have little margin of error with the conference tournament being a single-elimination team event that has no individual portion.

Besovic hopes her team was able to draw lessons from the SMU loss so that it can make damage in the AAC Championships.

“I thought we were very close, it can happen at the tournament and I hope we can put it together and play our best tennis, anything can happen at the tournament,” Besovic said.

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