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Home court advantage proves key for tennis

The Bradley tennis team pieced together a strong showing on its home court last weekend with three Braves securing individual titles in the five-team Bradley Invitational. 

The tournament, which was played between Friday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 22, was split between the David Markin Tennis Courts and Clubs at River City due to heavy rain over the latter two days of the tournament.

Juniors Sandra Maletin and Nina Marjanovic, as well as sophomore Nikki Perlwitz hauled in individual titles for the Braves, with the team going 19-9 as a whole over the weekend. The winning effort marked Maletin’s third-consecutive championship in the tournament’s top flight. 

“I was really happy with the way we performed this past weekend,” head coach Matt Tyler said. “We took a lot of things away from our time in Chicago [at the CSU Cougar Invite] and we were able to improve throughout the week in practice. We played great tennis all weekend long.” 

Maletin began the three-day tournament with a 6-3, 6-1 win over SIU-Edwardsville’s Lara Tupper on Friday, then advanced to the championship match following a 6-3, 6-3 win over Western Michigan’s Kaitlyn Rogosch the following afternoon. Bradley’s No. 1 player dispatched Jill Lambrechts of SIU-Edwardsville 6-3, 7-5 to claim the title on Sunday afternoon. 

“Sandra of course had a tremendous tournament,” Tyler said. “[She] is someone that has always been an outstanding performer for us.”

As Maletin took care of business in the tournament’s white flight, Marjanovic and Perlwitz dominated the red flight. The two both advanced to the championship match, but were ultimately paired against different players preventing an intrasquad matchup to determine the flight champion.

That enabled both Bradley players to become tournament co-champions. Perlwitz defeated Illinois State’s Jelena Karla Vujicic 3-6, 6-1, 10-4, while Marjanovic defeated Elizabeth Trupp of Western Michigan 6-1, 3-6, 10-8. 

“Nikki and Nina, to kind of have a breakthrough tournament is exciting for me,” Tyler said. “They both struggled a little bit in the spring last year, and to see them both come out and play great tennis in the fall is outstanding for us.”

 Marjanovic said she was proud of her play and perssitance through injury.

“I didn’t think I played my best tennis, but I definitely think that I fought and grinded my way through the matches,” Marjanovic said. “I had some pain in my leg which I overcame, so I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out.” 

In doubles play, Marjanovic and freshman Victoria Sanchez Bronzetti claimed the championship in the white flight. Bradley sophomore Bozana Lojpur claimed the consolation title in the singles red flight with a two-set win.  

“In doubles with Victoria I felt that we got off to a rocky start,” Marjanovic said. “But then we finished off really well.”

Bradley is off this weekend, with Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championships on deck during the first weekend of October in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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