200126_JCA_ITAKickoff_23.jpg

Georgia's Lea Ma smiles and hugs her racquet before a singles match on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Courts in Athens, Georgia. Ma defeated her opponent, Cameron Corse of Notre Dame, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Lea Ma, Georgia women’s tennis’ No. 31-ranked singles player, went undefeated on the day against No. 19 Tennessee.

Ma won the first match for Georgia in doubles and singles. Her 6-2 doubles win on court three with partner Meg Kowalski was against Tennessee’s Carly Briggs and Rebeka Mertena. Ma faced Briggs again in singles, winning 6-1, 6-3 on court two.

In comparison to Kowalski, who is an audible and fiery player, Ma appears calm and collected, showing little emotion despite the ups and downs of a singles match.

“I may look calm, but there is a lot going on in my head,” Ma said. “I feel like if I’m too amped up, I can't play the way I want to play.” 

The freshman’s composure proved to be beneficial in critical points that led her to her wins against the Vols.

In the last six games of her second set against Briggs, the opponents reached deuce four times. Despite being down, Ma said that she knew if she played her game, she had the game under control. 

The singles match seemed to be a battle, but Ma only gave up four games to the No. 118 singles player. Her consistent, deep shots into the corner were essential to her success on the day.

“[Ma] is super chill, and I’m pretty amped up,” Kowalski said. “I have way too much energy most of the time. We do balance each other out.” 

Ma and Kowalski said they have fun on the court together, which leads to their consistent success.

In the heat of the court three doubles match, Kowalski hit a shot from the baseline that hit Ma at the net in the back of the head. They were able to laugh off the mistake, as Ma fell to the ground in a joking fashion.

“A little miscommunication. I went across the court and didn’t get the ball, and she smacked me in the back of the head,” Ma said. 

Head coach Jeff Wallace was also impressed with Ma’s performance in practice this week.

“I think she probably had her best week of practice leading up to this,” Wallace said. “That is key to her to bring it each day in practice and get one day better ... and that’s going to translate to matches.”

Ma is now 4-2 in dual play singles and doubles. She is on a three-match winning streak with Kowalski at doubles and is on a two-match winning streak in singles.

“She’s already really great, but the sky's the limit on how much better she actually can get,” Wallace said. “I think that’s what is exciting for her.”