Syracuse shakes up doubles combinations after struggling all year

first_img Published on March 4, 2020 at 10:05 pm Contact Christopher: [email protected] | @chrisscargs Facebook Twitter Google+ Down 1-0 against then-No. 10 Duke, Kim Hansen dealt a serve into Duke’s service box, beginning a 13-hit rally that drew her doubles partner Sonya Treshcheva near the net. After tripping and regaining her footing, Treshcheva skidded her racket across the ground, returning a soft lob.Treshcheva’s weak hit turned into an overhead spiked winner from Duke’s Margaryta Bilokin. Hansen and Treshcheva lost the set, 6-3, along with the doubles point and eventually the match.SU’s doubles pairs haven’t just struggled against top-10 opponents. Throughout the season, players have lost their footing, miscommunicated and lofted balls out of bounds. Mishits have players like Treshcheva putting their hands in their face and voicing frustrations in Russian.On the season, Syracuse’s doubles pairs are 4-6. In both of SU’s losses, the Orange (8-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) won just one doubles point. Injuries have caused head coach Younes Limam to shuffle the doubles combinations — every partnership has changed since the season opener.Since Syracuse’s 7-0 loss to the Blue Devils, Limam has paired Hansen with Miranda Ramirez, Treshcheva with Sofya Golubovskaya, and Zeynep Erman with Guzal Yusupova.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We trust the fact that we have a lot of players that complement each other,” Limam said, “like some of them are very aggressive from the baseline, some are very aggressive at the net. It’s just trying to find that combination.”Nagging injuries to Kozyreva and Golubovskaya have caused SU to either forfeit or play with less than 100% health. This has hurt the Orange’s chance to win two out of the three doubles matches.Hansen, who said she used to play with a different doubles partner every week during her junior tennis career, started the season at No. 48 in doubles with Treshcheva. After two matches with fellow freshman Erman, Hansen has now ended up with Ramirez as an unranked pair.“If you play with a lot of different doubles partners you have to adjust every single time,” Hansen said. “So it’s kind of hard to get used to someone if they change all the time.”We trust the fact that we have a lot of players that complement each other. Like some of them are very aggressive from the baseline, some are very aggressive at the net. It’s just trying to find that combination.- Younes LimamOne thing new duos often have to adjust to is a language barrier, Polina Kozyreva said. Eight out of Syracuse’s nine players are foreign-born, and Ramirez is the only person whose first language is English.Ramirez — who spent the past three years playing with Gabriela Knutson in SU’s first All-American doubles pair — started the 2020 campaign with Yusupova but partnered up with Hansen after the post-Duke switch.“It is bittersweet,” Ramirez said. “It is always tough when girls graduate and new girls come in and we change these partners and lineups and all that stuff.”In the midst of Hansen and Ramirez’s doubles set against Louisville, up five games and on the verge of clinching the doubles point, the pair awaited the Cardinals serve. After a short rally, Hansen cannoned a shot beyond Louisville’s baseline.“So bad,” said Hansen as she stared down at the court with the loss of the point. The week before, against Duke’s Meible Chi and Bilokin, Hansen was given challenging shots that made her either hit the ball into the net or out-of-bounds. It was happening to her again.Ramirez, who has three more years of collegiate tennis experience than Hansen, jogged up to the frustrated freshman to cheer her up. “All good,” the senior said. It was just their second time playing together this season.Ramirez and Hansen high-fived and returned to their respective positions. Despite the error from Hansen, the match didn’t count in the end. On court two, right next to the senior-freshman duo, Treshcheva and Golubovskaya clinched the doubles point.Despite just one win in doubles against unranked Louisville to break its five-game losing streak, Syracuse begins ranked play against top-20 teams for the majority of March. When asked if the doubles lineup would stick, Limam didn’t have a direct answer.“Don’t jinx it,” Limam said. Commentslast_img read more