The fall tennis season ran a week longer for three Yellowjackets, as seniors Joanna Toke and Dan Williford and junior Partha Bhattacharya competed in the International Tennis Association National Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas last week.
Representing UR women’s tennis at ITAs, Toke entered the singles bracket with tournament experience and high expectations. “I thought that I definitely had a shot at winning the whole thing,” Toke said. “I came in third two years ago and wanted to do better than that this time around.”
In the quarterfinals, Toke lost to University of California at Santa Cruz’s Katie Frick in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. The main draw defeat sent Toke to the consolation bracket for the remainder of her matches.
After falling to Christin Tiegs of College of St. Benedict in the consolation semis, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, she clinched seventh place by dropping Denison University’s Amelia Crace, 6-2, 6-4.
“I started out all of my matches from behind which is generally not how I like to play,” Toke said. “I managed to get back into the matches, but I struggled with my consistency and my serve the entire weekend. I think that cost me in the tight situations.”
In men’s doubles, Bhattacharya and Williford earned an ITA berth after winning the Regional title at Vassar College on Sept. 28.
On Thursday, the pair went up against top-seeded Emory University in quarterfinal action and fell, 6-1, 6-3, in straight sets.
Bhattacharya attributes the loss to a lack of focus and preparation leading up to ITAs.
“We were rusty going into the tournament,” Bhattacharya said. “We didn’t prepare as well as we should have because team practices had stopped and we didn’t put in a lot of practice time on our own. Looking back, we could have done more.”
The Yellowjacket tandem lost later in the day to Mike Herrick and Borko Tesick of Kenyon College, 6-2, 6-2. Friday, Bhattacharya and Williford dropped their third match of the tournament, suffering a defeat at the hands of Pomona-Pitzer College. UR finished eighth overall.
With the fall season behind them, Toke, Bhattacharya and Williford will now shift their focuses toward the 2004 spring schedule.
In addition to functional training and drills, all three players will concentrate on strength and conditioning in hopes of increasing their endurance during the four-month offseason.
“I plan to work a lot on my fitness since there will be a lot of tough matches in the spring that will require a lot of running and a lot of long points,” Toke said.
Bhattacharya, Williford and the rest of the men’s team will take part in training sessions three times a week in addition to receiving private lessons from the coaching staff. The players will run as a squad on Wednesdays and lift together on Mondays and Thursdays, according to Bhattacharya.
Gerton can be reached at email@example.com.