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Sophomore Ines Fonte opened her doubles play today with a series of line drives past Clemson pair Eleni Louka and Lana Sipek to race out to an early two-set lead.
From there, Fonte only built on the early lead, delivering a deadly combination of strong serves and steady forehands to put the No. 3 doubles matchup out of the Tigers’ reach. Just a couple of rallies later, she stood disciplined in her unorthodox stance before watching a stray shot from Louka go wide, securing an Orange victory.
The stellar play from Fonte and partner Viktoriya Kanapatskaya would end up in a comfortable 6-2 win helping Syracuse secure the doubles point. This marked the second straight doubles victory for the tandem, and Fonte won convincingly in her singles match as well, not dropping a single game in the second set.
Just two days ago, the pair bested Georgia Tech’s Gia Cohen and Ruth Marsh in their return to Drumlins Country Club after the Orange were unable to pick up their first Atlantic Coast Conference team win against Virginia and Virginia Tech. Despite their slow start to league play, head coach Younes Limam said he was impressed by the chemistry between the sophomore pairing.
“Those two have been playing together for quite some time, and they’ve had so much success when they’re confident,” Limam said. “They get along extremely well, and so that’s why we’ve stuck with them so far.”
Still, Fonte’s recent achievements alongside Kanapatskaya haven’t carried onto the singles front. After battling an injury late in her eventual defeat to the University of Buffalo’s Azra Deniz Comlek on Feb. 12, Fonte was forced out of Syracuse’s final preseason game against Niagara University.
But with the start of the Orange’s ACC campaign postponed due to Boston College’s COVID-19 complications, Fonte was able to return against Virginia Tech. She struggled in her first ACC game, losing to sophomore Katie Andreini 6-3, 6-4. And Fonte picked up her second and third singles losses in a row, losing 6-1, 6-2 to Virginia’s Hibah Shaikh before falling to Georgia Tech’s Cohen in a tiebreaker.
Fonte bounced back on Sunday, winning her first singles matchup since Feb. 6 and downing Clemson’s Ali DeSpain in the No. 6 spot 6-4, 6-0.
“Ines played to her strengths. She didn’t rush herself or force anything, and I’m super proud of her,” Limam said. “I know she wanted that win badly, and she’s been working her way through a lot of adversity.”
Early in her match with DeSpain, Fonte jumped out to a quick lead. The second-year hard-hitter never seemed to have too much trouble with her opponent as she sat back and confidently played each ball, forcing DeSpain to run from sideline to sideline.
DeSpain made the first set close, but Fonte seemed to find her stride and rhythm in the second, winning in dominant fashion. DeSpain didn’t win a single game.
“(Fonte) did a great job starting the match very well, being up 5-2 in the first set,” Limam said. “(DeSpain) ended up making a comeback, but Ines stuck to her game plan, stayed positive and continued to take what was given to her.”
The post Ines Fonte wins doubles and single matches during Syracuse’s 1st ACC win appeared first on The Daily Orange.