Mizzou tennis rolls past Missouri State in 4-0 win

The Tigers were led by dominating performances from Vivien Ábráham and Mackenzy Middlebrooks.

There couldn’t have been a bigger contrast in the matches on the two far right courts at the Mizzou Tennis Complex Saturday night. On one was junior Serena Nash, reacting to every point in her match against Missouri State’s Anna Alons, occasionally letting out a shout of joy or frustration. After a relatively easy first set- a 6-2 win- Nash was grinding her way through a back-and-forth second set and found herself tied 4-4. Nash never finished her match, partially a result of what was happening a few feet away from her.

Freshman Vivien Ábrahám showed almost no emotion in her match against junior Phoebe Boeschen. Points off of long rallies were celebrated with a subdued fist pump. She had even less of a reaction to losses. In a methodical, almost machine-like manner, the Budapest, Hungary native dominated Boeschen, consistently forcing her into tough shots with deep groundstrokes, and capitalized on her mistakes with punishing, rally-ending volleys at the net. Ábráham’s 6-0, 6-0 win pushed Missouri to the brink of sealing the victory, which it did minutes later with Lisa Fukutoku’s 6-2, 6-2 win over Fati Khamissi, putting the match out of reach and causing the early end to Nash’s night.

The final team score was 4-0 in favor of Missouri.

“She’s been an awesome talent for us, to come in as a freshman and be as mature as she is on court, but just willing to change things and work extra hard and just do some special things,” Mizzou tennis coach Colt Gaston said of Ábráham. “I’m not shocked at how well she’s playing, but you just can’t ask for a better kid with work ethic and all of those things, so it’s starting to come together.”

Missouri got the ball rolling at the beginning of the night with three straight doubles wins, courtesy of Mackenzy Middlebrooks and Ellie Wright, Marta Oliveira and Gabrielle Goldin, and Ábráham and Taylor Gruber, securing an early point.

“Our goal coming out was to start a little bit better than we have been,” Gaston said. “I thought we did that in doubles for sure.”

Middlebrooks stayed hot after her doubles win, downing Alye Darter 6-1, 6-1 in her singles match.

The win moved the Tigers to 10-1 on the season. Missouri will be back in action in the SEC opener against Vanderbilt on March 1.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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