After breezing through the first few rounds, Minnesota’s Tijana Koprivica saw her tournament run come to an end at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regional this weekend in Norman, Okla.
The fifth-seeded Koprivica lost her quarterfinal match with Oklahoma’s Ana-Maria Constantinescu in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6. Constantinescu, the No. 3 seed, went on to win both the doubles and singles tournaments.
This was the second time this season Koprivica has played Constantinescu, but Saturday’s loss was much closer than the first match. The two met in the beginning of October at the Cal Nike Women’s Invitational in Berkeley, Calif. and Koprivica fell 6-7(3), 3-6. Koprivica said The first match helped her prepare for Saturday’s contest and resulted in a much closer match.
“I think [Constantinescu] just managed to stay more focused toward the end, and I kind of departed from my game against her,” Koprivica said.
Gophers head coach Tyler Thomson said he thought Koprivica was playing well all weekend and thought she could have gone on to win had she beaten Constantinescu.
“She played a great match but also learned things from it that can help her do well in our next tournament,” Thomson said.
Koprivica wasn’t the only player to have a tough tournament exit. Junior Alessandra Ferrazzi ran into top-seeded Anouk Tigu of Arkansas in the round of 16. Ferrazzi put up a fight but fell in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 2-6.
Freshman Alexa Palen also lost a three-setter to Oklahoma’s Marie-Pier Huet. After taking the first set 7-5, Palen couldn’t take either the second or third falling 4-6, then 1-6 to Huet who eventually reached the semifinals.
Despite Palen’s second round loss, both Thomson and Koprivica said they have been impressed with the freshman thus far.
Before falling to Huet, Palen upset the No. 4 seed Alexandra Kichoutkin of Tulsa, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Palen couldn’t keep her tournament hopes alive in the second match, but based on how she has been playing, Thomson said he thinks she will have a bright future with the Gophers.
“We all knew she was good, but she’s even better than we expected,” Thomson said. “She’s going to have a great career at Minnesota, and she’s already starting to show what she’s capable of.”
Sophomore Magdalena Wiecha was another victim of a three set loss, falling 6-4, 3-6, 3-6 in the second round.
Senior Jackie Sperling and junior Peta Forsyth both failed to make it out of the first round.
Overall, Thomson said he was impressed with his team’s singles performances.
“Everyone is playing well right now,” Thomson said. “I think everyone on the team walked away feeling optimism and confidence.”
While Minnesota’s singles matches were highlighted by close losses and upset victories, the doubles side was a little disappointing for the Gophers.
The fifth-seeded tandem of Koprivica and Ferrazzi had the talent to make a deep run in the doubles draw.
But after a convincing 8-1 win in the first round, their tournament lives came to an end with a 2-8 loss to Ewa Szatkowska and Anastasia Erofeeva of Tulsa.
Koprivica said she had hoped the two of them could play well together but now the Gophers must go back to the drawing board to look for other duos that work.
The Sperling-Forsyth team fell in the first round, but Palen and Wiecha worked well together in the doubles draw. The two reached the quarterfinals before losing a tough battle with the No. 1 seed 6-8.
The women have next weekend off and next play Nov. 6 at the North Carolina Tournament.
The men’s ITA Central Regional went late Sunday, but two Gophers were still alive as of press time. Juniors Sebastian Gallego and Tobias Wernet both reached the quarterfinals and had matches Sunday. The men’s final will be played on Monday.
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