The Kenyon Ladies’ tennis team faced a number of schools at this past weekend’s annual Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Regional Championship hosted by Kalamazoo College (Mich.), where they played in both doubles and singles matches.
The singles tournament contained 64 competitors, six of whom represented Kenyon College. Erika Oku ’21 and Daria Beshentseva ’22 both reached the quarterfinals, marking the first time two Ladies had advanced that far in the same season.
Elsewhere in singles, Ilana Blackwood ’21 and Kayla Pukys ’21 gained first-round victories, along with Anna Winslow ’22. In this tournament, Winslow wanted to focus on improving her versatility. “I expected to play people I’d never played before and really wanted to focus on my mental toughness throughout the tournament,” she said. “I was happy that I was able to make the adjustments I wanted to make and could pull out a couple of wins.”
Oku and Beshentseva dominated in doubles play: The third-seeded duo worked their way into the finals, only falling in a closely contested 6-4, 6-4 match to the University of Chicago’s Claudia Ng and Perene Wang in the final.
As a leader at this tournament, Oku was satisfied with the team’s performance. “I knew going into this tournament that every match was going to be tough,” Oku said. “The advantage for us was that we had just played so many matches the past week, so mentally we felt ready to compete against good schools … we also had a couple of injuries that prevented us from playing until the end. Moving forward, we will definitely improve on our fitness to be able to finish longer matches.”