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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Badgers suffer sweep against Longhorns

The Badgers women’s tennis team went scoreless in a 7-0 loss against the No. 10 Texas Longhorns

The No. 25 Wisconsin Badgers women’s tennis team fell 7-0 in a top-25 matchup Saturday against the No. 10 Texas Longhorns. 

Defeat struck the Badgers as they walked out of the matchup without taking a single win, dropping all their sets in their hardest fight of the season. 

An early loss opened doubles play as No. 50 sophomore Maria Sholokhova and Alina Mukhortova fought hard against Longhorn duo Sabina Zeynalova and Taisiya Pachkaleva. The Longhorns opened the match with a 2-0 lead, eventually shutting down the Badgers 6-1. 

Badger duo Ariel Johnson and Taylor Cataldi found themselves following suit on court three. Their Longhorn competitors finished the match with a 3-0 run and took the doubles point away with them. 

The Longhorns’ early lead left a close match between Wisconsin’s Xinyu Cai and Ellison Reynoldson and Texas’ Rapolu and Sasnouskaya, chained at 4-4, unfinished. 

All eyes turned to the Badgers in singles play as they hoped to fight back against the 1-0 deficit, but the Longhorns continued their hot streak and left no room for a Badger recovery.

Wisconsin’s Mukhortova was the first to fall, squaring up against 20th-ranked Tanya Sasnouskaya. The two had comparable momentum at the beginning of the first set after opening with a 4-4 tie, but Sasnouskaya roared back with two consecutive points and snatched the set. Mukhortova failed to fight back under the pressure and fell in a 6-0 sweep in the second set. 

Pachkaleva bested Wisconsin’s Kaja Jacobson shortly after. Pachkaleva took an early 3-0 lead. But while Jacobson fought back by sweeping the Pachkaleva in several games, the Longhorn came away with a 7-5 win in the first set. Pachkaleva sent Jacobson further and further back in the second set, walking away with a 6-0 sweep and the third overall point for Texas. 

Wisconsin’s efforts to walk out of Austin with a win became increasingly futile as Texas’ Vivian Ovrootsky shut down Johnson in a nail-biting 7-5 first set. The two matched tempos as they traded games early before the Longhorn picked up the pace and upset the Badger. 

Texas’ sweep continued as No. 61 Sholokhova fell to Zeynalova in a 6-3, 6-2 loss. However, the match was not without its fair share of drama. Sholokhova put up a strong fight, heading to deuces in three games before Zeynalova won the advantage point in two.

No. 87 Xinyu Cai fell in a quick 6-1 loss in the first set against No. 45 Malaika Rapolu. Cai attempted to rally back from a 3-1 deficit in the second set, embarking on a 3-0 run riddled with deuce points. Rapolu managed to close out the Badgers’ efforts with a break and took away the sixth point of the Longhorn’s reign. 

The Longhorns’ sweep over the Badgers closed out with No. 106 Chavatipon’s 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-1) prevailed over Junior Taylor Cataldi, taking away the final and hardest-fought point. 

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The 7-0 loss sent the Badgers home with a 3-2 overall record, a 6-4 doubles record and a 17-12 singles record. 

Wisconsin will return to the Nielsen Tennis Center for a face-off against Marquette on Friday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. 

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