Tennis

Maria Tritou secures Syracuse a doubles point in Syracuse’s 6-1 victory over Buffalo

Zach Barlow | Staff Photographer

Maria Tritou's big day helped lead the Orange to victory.

Maria Tritou set up behind the baseline, took three dribbles and unleashed her serve. Syracuse held a 6-5 lead in the third and final doubles match after breaking the Buffalo serve in the last game and was up 40-15.

The serve ended up as a fault. Then, the 6-footer from Greece took a deep breath and wound up for her second serve: double fault. Anna Shkudun walked back to her partner to give her a high five, and the two assumed their original positions for the second match point.

This time, Tritou’s serve fell inbounds, setting up a return by Buffalo. A backhand return sent the ball back to the Orange, whose return was accompanied by a rush of the net.

At first, the decision to rush forward appeared to backfire, when the Bulls’ return was lobbed over their heads. But the ball landed out of bounds and Syracuse had won the match, and doubles point.

“It was really nice to win doubles,” Tritou said smiling. “(The win) Really boosted our confidence.”

Syracuse (2-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) had split the first two doubles matches. But Tritou’s serve forced the long return that gave SU the win. She also came up big while winning the third singles match in the Orange’s 6-1 win over Buffalo (2-2) Saturday.

Minutes after winning the doubles match, Tritou moved from court three to court two to begin her singles match against Merceds Losada-Rubio. Her momentum carried over from her doubles match, and she promptly took a 3-0 lead in the first set after breaking her opponent’s serve twice.

The hot streak was short-lived, however, and ended when Buffalo won a break back and held serve to bring the score to 3-2. Tritou angrily bounced the ball into the floor before her serve to begin game No. 6. Fortunately for the Orange, Tritou’s frustration translated into winning three straight games to take the first set 6-2.

Losada-Rubio rebounded in the second set, and after six games the score was knotted at 3-3. Tritou responded by breaking serve to take a 4-3 lead, but then suddenly lost her touch. Buffalo won the set 6-4, sending the match into a tiebreak to 10 points.

Tritou dropped the first point of the extra set, prompting her to take a break to compose herself.

“I just said that I have to win this,” she said. “This is mine.”

She won the next two points in dominant fashion. She took a 2-1 lead with the streak and ran with it, never trailing again to win the tiebreak (10-7) and the match.

“I tell the team everyday…we have to go out there and compete and close matches,” SU head coach Younes Limam said. “I was very proud.”

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