PHILADELPHIA - It took just a few minutes shy of five hours to decide a winner, but Stephanie Do's three-set win at No. 2 gave Penn its third straight win to open up the dual schedule Saturday afternoon inside the Levy Tennis Pavilion. This marks the first time since the 2007 season that the Quakers (3-0) have opened the season with three straights wins. In the process, Penn handed Richmond (2-1) its first loss of the season.
Tightly contested matches would be the theme of the day as three of the six doubles matches went to third sets, but Penn would take two of those three to ensure the victory. After dropping the doubles point, Penn rallied with four singles wins to edge out the visitors. The doubles competition would be no exception to this rule as the two squads were evenly balanced up and down the order.
Richmond struck first in the doubles competition with at win at No. 2. In that match, the Spiders' second pairing jumped out to a 7-2 lead early on, but Alex Ion and Do would take the next two games to bring the score to 7-4, before falling 8-4. Daniela DePaoli and Emma Whitfield responded with a win at No. 3 doubles, 8-4. With that match tied at four-all, the upperclassmen pairing ran off four straight games for their fourth win of the season together, second in a row during the team season.
With doubles point coming down to the No. 1, Sol Eskenazi and Jules Rodin, playing together for just the second time all year, got in an early 6-3 hole. Penn's top-pairing would then battle its way back to six-all, seven-all, and eventually eight-all, forcing a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, the top pairings continued to go back-and-forth before Richmond pulled out a 7-5 tiebreak win to seal the early doubles point.
In singles, Rodin quickly shook off the doubles loss with a convincing win at No. 6, knotting the team score at one-all. She allowed just one game total, winning 6-1, 6-0, on her way to improving to a perfect 2-0 this spring. However, Richmond would retake the lead with a win at No. 3. Daniela DePaoli was down just 4-3 in the first set before her opponent picked up momentum for Richmond's first singles win.
Ion would then tie the team score at two-all with her win at No. 3. After a tightly contested match through the first seven games, Ion took the final two games in the first set, winning 6-3. She then allowed just two games in the second set for her team-leading 12th win of the year. Her fellow freshman, Eskenazi, would then put Penn up 3-2 with her win at No. 1.
Eskenazi allowed just one game in the first set to get the quick jump in her match, but her opponent went up 3-0 to start the second en route to her own 6-1 win, tying the match at 1-1. In the third set, Eskenazi would again find herself down 3-0, but this time came back with a 6-3 win to clinch her 10th victory of the season.
Whitfield looked to be in good position early on she took her first set at No. 5, 7-5, after she had been deadlocked at four-all through eight games. However, her opponent tied the fifth match with a 6-2 win in the second set. To start out the third, Whitfield found herself down 4-1 early. She would get the match back on serve at 4-3 before her opponent then came away with the 6-3 win in that decisive set. This tied the team score at three-all with just one to play.
Do was right in her first set at No. 2. Through the first five games, she was down just 3-2, but her opponent ran off three of the next four to go up 1-0. In the second, Do and her opponent continued to go back-and-forth and eventually would go to a tiebreak at six-all. In the tiebreak, the score was tied three-all before Do picked up four of the next six points, evening the score at one set a piece.
In the third set, Do jumped out to the early 3-0 lead, but her opponent responded with two straight games. The two would then split the next four games to make the match score 4-3. With Whitfield's match having just gone final, Do was the last chance for Penn to come away with the win. She would respond, taking the next two games and capturing that decisive set, 6-4, and sealing the team victory for Penn. With the win, she improves to 7-5 overall this season, while picking up her second win at No. 2 in the process.
Penn will now have little time to rest as No. 41 Maryland makes the trip to Penn tomorrow. That match will be at noon.
Penn 4, Richmond 3
1: Helen Cunningham/Alexandra Smyth (R) def. Sol Eskenazi/Jules Rodin (P), 9-8 (5)
2: Melissa Kandinata/Joanna Matuszczyk (R) def. Stephanie Do/Alex Ion (P), 8-4
3: Daniela DePaoli/Emma Whitfield (P) def. Elizabeth Sims/Nil Horoz (R), 8-4
1: Sol Eskenazi (P) def. Helen Cunningham (R), 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
2: Stephanie Do (P) def. Melissa Kandinata (R), 3-6, 7-5 (6), 6-4
3: Alex Ion (P) def. Alexandra Smyth (R), 6-3, 6-2
4: Joanna Matuszczyk (R) def. Daniela DePaoli (P), 6-3, 6-1
5: Elizabeth Sims (R) def. Emma Whitfield (P), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
6: Jules Rodin (P) def. Nil Horoz (R), 6-1, 6-0