Women’s tennis ready for trio of home matches

Trevor Greene The Daily Illini Illinois Megan Fudge plays singles during the meet against Miami of Ohio in the Atkins Tennis Center on Sunday, Jan. 25th.

Trevor Greene The Daily Illini Illinois’ Megan Fudge plays singles during the meet against Miami of Ohio in the Atkins Tennis Center on Sunday, Jan. 25th.

By Ros Dumlao

The No. 36 Illinois women’s tennis team is not worried about No. 75 Kansas’ undefeated record heading into the teams’ Friday match.

“We’re preparing the same way we would against anyone,” said head coach Michelle Dasso. “You (have to) go into every match fired up, expecting your opponents are going to play their best and you got to be ready to go.”

The main advantage the Illini (2-2) will feature against Kansas (3-0) is their newfound confidence, especially in doubles play.

“I’m totally confident in our doubles,” said Dasso. “I mean, I think this is the first year I can say that.”

Of the four teams Illinois has faced in its dual season, three were ranked in the top 50 nationally.

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With one-point contests against Tennessee and UNLV, Dasso has been stressing to her team the difference one doubles point can make.

“Starting off pretty solid in the doubles is going to be key for us, and from that point on it’s a matter of keeping that momentum going,” said Dasso about last Friday’s win over UNLV.

After Illinois grabbed its first doubles point victory of the dual-match season against UNLV, Dasso noticed the biggest difference from its previous matches was that the team was “fired up and ready to go,” as opposed to starting “sluggish.”

“We stepped on court and were confident,” said junior Megan Fudge. “We said to ourselves, ‘We’re going to get this doubles point.'”

Fudge is now 4-0 in the dual season but knows she can’t be overconfident.

“I have to keep my feet on the ground and take it every match at a time.”

The Illini followed their 4-3 win against UNLV with a 6-1 loss against No. 5 Stanford last Sunday, but Illinois took the loss a different way.

Although Illinois’ No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams fell to Stanford, forcing the No. 3 doubles match to be abandoned, Dasso complimented her No. 3 doubles team’s performance.

“We’ve got to focus on the (number) three doubles and how they played,” said Dasso. “They were in control of that match. Our one and two doubles, I mean all four of them are tremendous players, they have very natural doubles instincts and good hands.”

Following the home match against Kansas, Illinois will host a doubleheader Sunday against UIC and Illinois State.

With Big Ten season not starting until March, Dasso contemplating a few changes in preparation.

“We might just switch around (the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles lineup) between those four this weekend, just to make sure we have the right chemistry and combinations before our Big Ten season starts,” Dasso said.