Iowa tennis notebook | Hawkeyes begin individual, team tournaments

After competing at an unattached tournament in Wichita, a trio of Iowa women’s tennis players will head to Charlotte this weekend.

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Isabella Cervantes

Iowa’s Vipahsa Mehra serves the ball during a women’s tennis match between Iowa and Michigan State at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Matt McGowan, Sports Reporter


After two months of practice, the Iowa women’s tennis team is playing its first tournament of the fall season this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Three of Iowa’s players will head to Charlotte, and the other four players will be playing in an individual tournament in Champaign, Illinois. 

Prior to this weekend’s split, freshman Pia Kranholdt, junior Vipasha Mehra, and fifth-year Anya Lamoreaux had played in an individual tournament in Wichita, Kansas. 

Winning in Wichita 

From Sept. 9-11, Wichita State hosted an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Fall Circuit Event. Kranholdt, Mehra, and Lamoreaux registered for the tournament unattached from Hawkeye tennis for a chance at a share of $5,000 in prize money. Without Iowa coaches present, the trio participated in singles and doubles against 17 other participants. 

Kranholdt lost in straight sets to Natsumi Kurahashi of Wichita State, but Mehra and Lamoreaux both won their first-round match and advanced to the quarterfinals. All three Iowa players lost to an opponent with a higher ranking.

Kranholdt played doubles with a partner outside of Iowa tennis, and the pair lost, 6-1, in the first round. Lamoreaux and Mehra advanced to the finals, taking down Wichita State, 6-4.

By making the quarterfinals of the singles tournament, Lamoreaux and Mehra each won $125. As champions of the doubles’ tournament, the duo earned $250. 

“We’re just there to compete at the end of the day,” Lamoreaux said. “It’s nice to go with a coach, but without them, we’re still able to do what we need to do.”

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Trio heads to Charlotte

The same trio at Wichita will also be playing at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte this weekend. This time, they will be traveling with their coaches and representing the University of Iowa. While this tournament is based on team registration, the results of the tournament will only influence players’ individual records. 

Other competing schools include Clemson, South Carolina, Charlotte, Furman, Penn State, and East Tennessee State. Charlotte and Furman are both on the Hawkeyes’ spring season schedule, and head coach Sasha Schmid said that she is looking forward to getting an early preview of these teams. 

The Hawkeyes will play eight matches over three days, with one singles match each day. Two doubles matches will be played on both Friday and Saturday, and one more will be played Sunday. This condensed schedule will be played in a round robin format rather than bracket play. 

For the doubles matches, Schmid said that she plans to mix up the combinations to determine which pair works best, as well as figure out which serving rotation is most productive. Schmid noted she wants her players to implement the footwork they have been working on in practice, specifically staying balanced and getting behind the ball on each stroke. 

Aside from the physical aspects, Mehra mentioned she wants to implement the disciplined mindset that assistant coach Daniel Leitner emphasized in practice. 

“Dictating the points more and not letting my opponent move me around, just being aggressive,” Mehra said. 

Individuals at Illinois 

The four other players on the Hawkeyes — freshman Daianne Hayashida, sophomore Marisa Schmidt, sophomore Barbora Pokorna, and fifth-year senior Samantha Mannix — will head to the University of Illinois to play in an individual-based tournament without coaches. 

This tournament is part of the Universal Tennis Rating college circuit. There will be $1000 of prize money allocated throughout the 34 participants.

The tournament includes both singles and doubles, and collegiate players from Illinois and Illinois State will be among the many opponents. 

Schmid thinks that this tournament will be a great learning opportunity for her players, because there are many benefits to playing without a coach. 

“You have to problem solve for yourself, figure out strategy on your own,” Schmid said. “You really take responsibility for your preparation, your nutrition, your sleep, which I think is good for maturity reasons.”  

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