SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – On a busy second day of the NEWITT championships, Wesleyan University women's tennis fought from morning until sunset and emerged with two pairings still remaining across two different flights. The duos of Nicole McCann '18 and Alissa Nakamoto '21 as well as Julia Kim '20 and Daniela Alvarez '21 won two matches each to advance to the finals on Sunday.
In the B draw quarterfinals, McCann and Nakamoto faced Rena Liu and Alex Reinhart of MIT. Beginning with singles, both Cardinals raced out to big starts, and it was McCann who finished first, rolling to a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Liu. Nakamoto would be tested, but played an exceptional super tiebreaker to take her match 6-2, 4-6, 10-4. In the doubles, McCann and Nakamoto cruised, taking the match 8-4 to advance to the semifinals.
Later in the day, McCann and Nakamoto faced another MIT team, this time starting the matchup with doubles, which Wesleyan won 8-5. In the singles matches, both were extremely tight, but Nakamoto was rock solid, clinching the overall match with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Kelly Zhu. McCann's fight and tenacity was impressive, but she would eventually fall 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 to Dora Tzeng.
For Alvarez and Kim in the C Draw, it was smooth sailing throughout, with the two winning all their matches in straight sets. They started off facing Smith's Samantha Peikes and Joanna Kim, the older sister of Julia. In singles, Kim defeated Peikes 6-3, 6-0, while Alvarez was almost perfect, winning 6-0, 6-1 over the older Kim from Smith. In doubles, it was one-way traffic, with Wesleyan winning 8-0.
Kim and Alvarez would be tested more in their second round against Trinity, but handled the challenge quite well. Kim started off with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Lily Everett and was soon followed by Alvarez, who topped Morgan Wilkins 6-3, 6-0. In the doubles, Wesleyan prevailed 8-5 to finish the clean sweep.
Also in the B draw were Helen Klass-Warch '18 and her sister Zoe Klass-Warch '21, taking on Brandeis in their first match of the day. Helen started things off with a convincing 6-2, 6-0 win over Keren Khromchenko, and despite a hiccup in the second set, Zoe joined her in the winner's circle, beating Michele Lehat 6-1, 4-6, 10-4. In doubles, the senior-freshman sister duo continued their strong play, winning 8-5.
The sisters would be in for quite a battle later in the day in their semifinal match, where they faced Marina Zhang and Megan Guenther of MIT. The Klass-Warch's came out playing at a very high level in doubles, winning in a dominant 8-2 performance. In singles, nothing came easy, as MIT raised their level, knowing they needed to win both matches. Despite some mid-match adjustments, Helen was unable to find a way against Zhang, dropping the match 6-3, 6-3. With all eyes on Zoe, she and Guenther went blow for blow in an exciting match that didn't conclude until there was hardly any daylight remaining, Eventually, MIT emerged victorious, with Guenther sealing the match with a great passing shot for a 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 win.
The final duo in action for Wesleyan was Aashli Budhiraja '18 and Polina Kiseleva '21, who took on Anya Ivenitsky and Avery Wagman from Amherst in the A Draw. The match began with singles, where Budhiraja lost to Ivenitsky 6-3, 6-2 but Kiseleva evened things up with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Wagman. With everything hanging on the doubles, it was Amherst that finished the job, winning 8-4 in a match that was more competitive than the score suggests.
Tomorrow, McCann and Nakamoto will compete in the B draw final, while Kim and Alvarez will do the same in the C draw. Both matches are scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at Smith College.