Tigers lose focus, match

Comeback derails after crucial call goes against Olshanskaya.
Monday, April 4, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:26 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yelena Olshanskaya and the Missouri women’s tennis team were the victims of bad luck on Sunday.

The Tigers lost 5-2 to Texas A&M at Green Tennis Center, falling to 12-5, 2-4 in the Big 12.

One moment during Olshanskaya’s singles match exemplified the type of day the Tigers had.

Serving at 40-30 with a 5-4 lead in the second set, Olshanskaya produced what appeared to be an ace to win the set. Her opponent challenged the point and the umpire overturned the call.

“The guy just blew the call,” coach Blake Starkey said. “I could easily see from where I was standing that it was in.”

The call rattled Olshanskaya and she never recovered, losing the point and the next two to drop the match 6-4, 7-5.

“She regrouped and I just lost my focus, which should never happen,” Olshanskaya said. “I just got frustrated about that call. But this is a match I’ll learn from.”

Missouri started the match sluggishly, losing the point for doubles.

“Our doubles stunk,” Starkey said. “We weren’t playing at the net. We used to play with our belly buttons at the net and now we are four feet behind it, giving the other team more time to react to our shots.”

The Tigers picked up their performance in singles and seemed to have a good shot at winning.

After losses in the first two singles matches, Lubica Nadasska earned the Tigers first point with a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

Carolyn Kramer also won to pull the Tigers to within 3-2.

The umpire’s call, though, stifled Olshanskaya and the Tigers’ momentum.

Hana Kraftova, meanwhile, was tied 4-4 in the third set and looked to go ahead when her opponent, Lauren Walker, hit a return that hit the net and went over for a point. Kraftova lost the match 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4.

After the loss to Texas A&M (10-9, 5-1), Starkey said he thinks his team is close to getting to the next level.

“We need a whole team effort to beat the tough opponents we’re playing,” he said.

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