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W. tennis opens up Ivy slate with pair of wins

The women's tennis team held a slim 4-3 overall lead over Penn at Lenz Tennis Center Friday, and was on the verge of dropping the final two doubles matches.

The No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Blair Farr and junior Kerry Patterson were on the brink of defeat, trailing 7-6 in the eighth game of the pro-set. Not only did the fate of the entire team rest in the hands of Farr and Patterson, but the duo also faced triple-match point.

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Fortunately for Princeton, Farr and Patterson responded under pressure, winning the next five points to take the game and tie the match. After splitting the next two games, the Tigers jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker and held on for a 9-8 (7-5) win to give Princeton a 5-4 victory.

Two wins

Saturday, the Tigers routed Columbia, 8-1, in their second home match of the weekend. Princeton won all six singles matches in straight sets to remain undefeated this spring.

Princeton (10-2 overall, 2-0 Ivy League) had jumped out to a 4-2 lead after singles against Penn, with convincing wins by Farr and sophomore No. 2 Jyotsna Vasisht. But needing to win only one of the remaining doubles matches, the Tigers relaxed and found themselves trailing in all three. Then, when comeback efforts at No. 2 and 3 doubles teams came up short, Princeton's outcome fell entirely into the hands of Farr and Patterson.

"I think we came out for doubles thinking we're going to win, instead of anyone just going out and doing it," head coach Louise Gengler '75 said.

Pressure players

After denying their Penn opponents three match points, Farr and Patterson came up clutch in the tiebreaker. With the scored knotted at two, Farr chased down a Penn lob, reaching back behind her head to hit an overhead crosscourt that landed just inside the right sideline.

Later, leading 5-4, Patterson blistered a return crosscourt, setting up Farr for an easy overhead to give the Tigers two match points. And on the second match point, a Penn shot into the net gave Princeton the narrow 5-4 victory.

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Farr entered her singles match as the underdog against Penn's No. 1 Anastasia Pozdniakova. Pozdniakova has been the Tigers' arch-nemesis this year. She boasted a 7-0 record over Princeton players this year going back to the fall season, including two wins over Farr.

But Farr didn't seem intimidated, as she jumped out to a 5-2 lead in both sets, winning 6-4, 6-2. Farr used a strong serve and consistent ground strokes to frustrate Pozdniakova, who made several unforced errors, which were followed by screams in self-anger.

Rundown

The second to last point of the match was indicative of how Farr played. After a strong rally, Pozdniakova hit a crosscourt shot just inside the left sideline for what appeared to be a winner. But Farr chased it down and hit an even better shot, a sharp-angled forehand crosscourt which Pozdniakova could only watch.

In the No. 2 singles spot, Vasisht used an overpowering baseline game to move the Quakers' Lara Afanassiev around the court in a 6-4, 6-1 win.

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Sophomore No. 4 Amanda Hastings-Phillips had what also proved to be a huge victory against Penn. She trailed in all three sets against Brooke Herman, put won the points that counted in the first and third, earning a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, win.

Saturday's victory over Columbia lacked the drama of Friday's match. Hastings-Phillips recorded a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 4 to lead the way, while Farr won at No. 1 to remain undefeated for the spring.

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