Daily 49er

France native Maeva Razakasoa serves up success at Long Beach State

Maeva Razakasoa has won 13 straight matches at LBSU.

Maeva+Razakasoa+hits+a+ball+during+a+match+against+San+Diego+State+in+January.++She+has+won+all+of+her+singles+matches+so+far.
Maeva Razakasoa hits a ball during a match against San Diego State in January.  She has won all of her singles matches so far.

Maeva Razakasoa hits a ball during a match against San Diego State in January. She has won all of her singles matches so far.

Maeva Razakasoa hits a ball during a match against San Diego State in January. She has won all of her singles matches so far.

Stephanie Romero, Staff Writer

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Maeva Razakasoa is 5,777 miles from home, but that isn’t keeping her from enjoying success on the tennis court.

The redshirt freshman from France has started her Long Beach State career with a bang, winning 13 straight singles matches to open the season.

The same can’t be said about every element of Razakasoa’s transition to the United States. Fortunately for Razakasoa, though, she found a head coach in Jenny Hilt-Costello who didn’t just understand the transition but was also experienced in dealing with it — the women’s tennis team has been built upon international players every year in recent memory.

“Coach Jenny [Hilt-Costello] understood we weren’t familiar with the language and aren’t from here but she tried to make us as comfortable as possible,” Razakasoa said.

Razakasoa’s journey to The Beach started when Hilt-Costello came upon her through the ISP Tennis Academy in France. Hilt-Costello was familiar with the academy already, as she used it to find former player and current assistant coach Anais Dallara as well.

Razakasoa said Dallara also helped bring her to Long Beach.

“My first choice was [always] to be in California, but then when I saw a picture that Anais [Dallara] showed me, I liked it, and the weather is amazing,” Razakasoa said. “I don’t regret my choice.”

Razakasoa has 12 years of experience in the sport of tennis. She said her interest in the sport grew once she saw her cousin playing tennis, and she developed into a player capable of success on a big stage.

Three years ago, when she was 16 years old, Razakasoa won the doubles national championship in the French Open. Razakasoa was also a semifinalist in the singles national in the French Open.

“It will help me feel more comfortable for the big championship like the Big West,” Razakasoa said. “The more I win now will make me more comfortable in the atmosphere and how to be with this challenge. For me this is new.”

Razakasoa said she owes some of her success to her effort to vary her approach to every match while maintaining consistency on her part.

“I tried to work on being consistent every time, and I tried to do something different at every match,” Razakasoa said. “I tried to change it up for every opponent because they weren’t the same.”

Hilt-Costello credited Razakasoa’s effort in practice as a factor in her early success. Like any good coach, though, Hilt-Costello identified a few things for Razakasoa to work on.

“Maeva [Razakasoa] is a work in progress, but the she has improved since September when she arrived.” Hilt-Costello said.

Some of the areas Hilt-Costello has had Razakasoa focus on are her confidence in coming forward and finishing points at the net. Hilt-Costello also said Razakasoa has a strong serve but doesn’t use it as much as she can.

Even before making the improvements Hilt-Costello hopes to see, Razakasoa has made an impact on the 49ers early on. Her 12 straight singles match wins have helped LBSU to a 7-1 record and first-place standing in the Big West.

LBSU’s most recent match was canceled because of rain, but not until after Razakasoa won her 13th singles match of the year. She will put her streak on the line once again this weekend, when the 49ers host Tulane and Montana at the Rhodes Tennis Center.

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