Just four matches into her junior campaign, Edina Horvath is already in what many athletes refer to as "The Zone."
Horvath has yet to lose in either a doubles or singles match this year and improved to 8-0 overall following the home opener for the Kansas University women's tennis team against Illinois and Saint Louis on Sunday at First Serve.
"I feel awesome on the court," the junior from Budapest, Hungary, said. "Everything is just working right now - doubles and singles. I think I'm in good shape so it all just works right now."
After teaming with senior Elizaveta Avdeeva to win the No. 1 doubles match against Illinois, Horvath was the only player to clinch a singles match in the squad's 5-2 loss to the Illini. KU followed up its third defeat to start the season with a 7-0 sweep of SLU.
"Her intensity level has increased along with her motivation to keep doing well for the team," Kansas coach Amy Hall-Holt said of Horvath. "The thing about this group is, even though we are an individual sport, it's a team atmosphere, and everybody wants to take it for the team. Everybody wants to step out there for the team, and Edina has been a trooper. She's just been a great team player, and she's really stepping up."
Horvath won both of her No. 3 singles matches in straight sets, defeating Illinois' Marisa Lambropoulos, 6-4, 6-4, and Saint Louis' Joe Becker, 6-1, 6-2.
The Jayhawks clinched the doubles point against the Illini with a 9-7 victory by senior Lauren Hommell and freshman Magdalena Tokarczyk in the No. 3 spot.
KU swept doubles to open with one point against SLU, but this time didn't let its opponent collect any points in singles play.
"We've worked hard from the beginning of the semester on doubles, and we're still trying to find our niche and keep it very strong at No. 1 and 2," Hall-Holt said. "Right now, we're still working on what's the best combination for our No. 3 doubles. But the moment going into singles, if you get that doubles point, does carry over. Unfortunately, it didn't for us today against Illinois, but I thought the girls competed well."
Avdeeva and Horvath waltzed to a win at the No. 1 doubles, 8-2, and sophomore Kunigunda Dorn and junior Yuliana Svistun rout their opponents, 8-3, at No. 2 doubles. Hommell and Tokarczyk had some issues at No. 3 doubles, but pulled through, 9-7.
Tokarczyk made her first appearance in the No. 1 singles against both of Sunday's opponents.
Although she struggled in a 6-3, 6-1 loss against Megan Fudge of Illinois, the freshman from Ksawerow, Poland, made quick work of Saint Louis' Tara Grant, winning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
"After going 5-0 at the beginning of the year, I felt like she deserved a shot," Hall-Holt said. "She played well. We just wanted to see what she could do, and she competed out here. I felt like any given day Magdalena could step up and play against any of the top No. 1's."