IU men’s tennis split a pair of Big Ten dual matches this weekend while playing at home in the IU Tennis Center. On Saturday, the team lost 5-2 to No. 14 Michigan. It bounced back on Sunday to complete a clean sweep of Michigan State, posting a 7-0 victory.
Michigan took a quick lead in capturing the doubles point, as graduate student Bennett Crane and freshman Michael Andre fell 6-3 at No. 1 doubles, and junior Patrick Fletchall and senior Andrew Redding lost 6-4 at No. 2 doubles. Freshman Ilya Tiraspolsky and graduate student William Piekarsky won their No. 3 doubles match 6-3.
“We knew Michigan is very, very tough,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “They’re a good team that not only has good players, but they really play college tennis well in a team environment. They really showed from start to finish that they were going to be competitive and be in every single point.”
Fletchall put the Hoosiers on the board when he won at No. 6 singles 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
At No. 2 singles, Redding posted a victory in dramatic fashion. After dropping his first match 6-7, he won the following two sets 6-4 and 6-3 to clinch a point for the Hoosiers.
Crane, junior Vikash Singh, sophomore Luka Vukovic and Andre all fell to the Wolverines in singles.
IU took on Michigan State on Sunday, and the Hoosiers turned up the heat to hold the Spartans scoreless.
IU quickly clinched the doubles point, with Crane and Andre winning 6-2 at No. 1 doubles and Fletchall and Redding also winning 6-2 at No. 2 doubles. The No. 3 doubles match with Tiraspolsky and Piekarsky was left unfinished as IU had already captured the doubles point.
“We knew we needed to bounce back quickly after playing Michigan,”Wurtzman said. “Michigan State was coming in off of a win against Purdue, we knew we were going to get their best tennis.”
Knowing that the Spartans were traveling to Bloomington on a road win helped the Hoosiers prepare for the match and get their minds right. Wurtzman knew that with Michigan State’s momentum, his team would have to play really well.
The Hoosiers snagged wins in all six singles categories. At No. 1, Crane won 6-3, 6-4. Redding followed his impressive performance vs. Michigan with a 6-1, 6-3 victory against Michigan State.
Singh won No. 3 singles in a tiebreaker, finishing 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-5). Both Vukovic at No. 4 singles and Fletchall at No. 6 singles posted wins in two sets, going 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) and 7-5, 6-3.
Andre finished the sweep for the Hoosiers at No. 5 singles, securing a victory after forcing a 10-point tiebreaker in the third set. He finished 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 (12-10).
IU finished the weekend 1-1, making its Big Ten record 2-2. The team’s next two matches are on the road. They travel to Penn State on March 6 and Ohio State on March 7.
The Hoosiers lost to the Nittany Lions the last time they met in 2019. They look to break a 19-match losing streak against the Buckeyes.
“We just have to go from here and give it our all,” Wurtzman said. “We’re focusing in on Penn State and then we’ll go from there.”