The Horned Frogs showed no signs of rust Wednesday in their first outdoor match of the semester, a 7-0 sweep of SMU that improved TCU’s record to 4-2.Head coach Dave Borelli said the team showed signs of the considerable experience it gained at more competitive matches earlier in the year.
“The competition we had early in the season really helped,” Borelli said. “We have to play good people. That’s where it starts, in playing good teams. The thing of that is when you play at a lower level, you have to play better.”
The Frogs only dropped one set all day en route to their shut out victory.
TCU’s strong showing started when the pairing of senior Helena Besovic and freshman Anna Sydorska – ranked No. 40 in the nation – finished off SMU’s Natalia Bubien and Svetlana Kouzmenko in an 8-5 victory to close out the doubles competition.
Possibly more important than that victory was an upper thigh injury suffered by Bubien that would eventually force her to retire from her singles match against sophomore Nicole Leimbach, clinching the Frogs’ first singles victory of the day.
Borelli said the injury was an obvious problem for the Mustangs’ No. 1 player.
“Nicole was going to win that easily before she retired,” Borelli said.
Although Borelli said Besovic wasn’t feeling 100 percent, the senior still managed to defeat Kouzmenko 6-0, 6-3 in a singles match that grew closer as time elapsed.
Borelli said Besovic, who was battling flu-like symptoms, had trouble maintaining her strength.
“(Besovic) really lost some of her energy near the end,” Borelli said.
The Horned Frogs may have built up a degree of familiarity with their crosstown rivals, but Borelli said prior knowledge was not as big of a factor as basic ability.
“Well, we’ve played them before,” Borelli said. “They’re a good team, but we’re just a better team. You’re supposed to beat them decisively.”
Despite the victory, TCU is still listed as an underdog in the Feb. 22 match against Baylor University. Borelli said he sees the line more as a positive than a negative.
“That’s all it comes down to, if we put to much pressure on ourselves,” Borelli said. “My kids have hit enough tennis balls in their life where they understand they have to handle the pressure. That’s how a champion plays, a champion has to be merciless.