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Women's Tennis Duels Through Trio of Matches in Providence

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This past weekend, Harvard competed in Providence for the Brown Quad, a three-day slugfest against Columbia, Boston College, and Brown on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively. This was the Crimson’s first competition as a whole team in over a month and only one of the first few team competitions since the Covid-19-induced hiatus that began in March 2020.

“Coming back after a year and a half of not competing, our team has been working hard and has been improving with every match that we’ve played this season,” senior Rachel Lim said.

Starting off on Friday, Harvard pulled together an all-around strong performance against Columbia, especially in the doubles matches. The duo of junior Mihaela Marculescu and first-year Angel You led the way with a hard-fought 7-5 victory over the Columbia pair of Akanksha Bhan and Anna Zhang. The Crimson women were bested in the singles matches on four out of six courts, but You and Lim were still able to pick up wins, with final results 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-4, respectively.

The Saturday competitions against Boston College gave Harvard more trouble, as the Crimson women were blanked in doubles and only picked up one singles victory with Marculescu winning 6-3, 6-4 over Boston College’s Muskan Mahajan. Despite the final results from Saturday, however, Harvard put up incredibly gritty performances across the board. Sophomore Sany Gawande went the distance with Boston College’s Laura Lopez in two back-to-back 7-6(5), 7-6(4) sets, while Lim split sets with a Boston College athlete 6-2, 3-6 (10-3). Lim noted that even though the team came up short against Boston College, there were still positive things to take away from the performance.

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“Every match we played no matter the result was a great opportunity to learn and improve,” Lim said. “We are definitely going to use this experience to keep building throughout the rest of our season.”

On Sunday, the Crimson put it all together in its strongest performance of the weekend against Brown. Lim, Marculescu, Gawande, and first-year Maxi Duncan all came through in their singles competitions with convincing wins across the board. On top of that, the duo of Duncan and sophomore Iveta Daujotaite secured a statement win against a pair from Brown with a 6-3 result.

While Harvard has its sights set on having a successful season of competition next winter and spring, Lim noted that these fall matches, along with the previous matches over the past few months, have been crucial for building team camaraderie and informing the team on what it needs to work on.

“We had a lot of fun in Providence and were able to get some good match experiences against the teams we played. It felt really good to be out there competing and all of us had really great energy throughout the weekend,” Lim said. “Our fall tournaments are always a great way to prepare us for our spring season, so we were excited to go out and compete against the three teams we played.”

Lim and the rest of the team will look to build off the performances this past weekend and carry the momentum throughout the rest of the fall season and into next year. The Crimson women have one last chance to defend their home court in Cambridge this fall before they take a break from home competitions until the winter.

“As we look forward to our last match of the season, we’ve been putting in the work on and off the court,” Lim said. “We have a very strong and dynamic team, and it’s been really nice to see how we’ve all progressed with every match that we’ve played. It’s been an exciting fall season, and we’re looking forward to competing at home for our last fall match.”

Harvard will look to continue its strong performances this weekend against Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Boston College — in potential redemption matches — at the Harvard Invitational.

— Staff writer David Aley can be reached at david.aley@thecrimson.com.

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