Indiana Daily Student

Indiana men’s tennis ends season with second-round exit in Big Ten Tournament

<p>Then-junior Patrick Fletchall prepares to serve the ball April 11, 2021, at the IU Tennis Center. Indiana’s season ended with a loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday.</p>

Then-junior Patrick Fletchall prepares to serve the ball April 11, 2021, at the IU Tennis Center. Indiana’s season ended with a loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday.

The Indiana men’s tennis team wrapped up its season in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday and Friday. The Hoosiers defeated Penn State in a 4-3 thriller in one of the tournament’s play-in matches before losing 4-2 in the second round to Michigan.

The Hoosiers entered postseason play with a 0-9 record in regular season conference play and a 12-match losing streak. On Thursday, they got the win they needed.

With Thursday’s win, the Hoosiers avenged their 3-4 loss against the Nittany Lions on April 3 and earned a spot in the quarterfinal round the following day.

The Hoosiers got off to a strong start Thursday by winning the doubles point. Indiana senior Patrick Fletchall and sophomore Ilya Tiraspolsky took the No. 1 doubles match 6-4, and junior Luka Vukovic and sophomore Michael Andre sealed the early lead with a 6-3 win in the No. 3 spot.

Indiana spent many matches throughout March and April notching 1-0 leads before squandering them during singles competition. With its season on the line, though, the team was finally able to close out a tight match.

The lead immediately grew for Indiana in singles play, as Penn State junior Charl Morgan withdrew from the No. 6 singles match due to injury and Tiraspolsky was granted an automatic win. Once the singles matches started, Indiana’s advantage was already 2-0.

The Nittany Lions still managed to crawl back into the match by winning the next three singles contests and ultimately edged out a 3-2 lead. Vukovic and Indiana seniors Carson Haskins and Vikash Singh all fell to their opponents at the No. 3, No. 1 and No. 4 spots, respectively. 

By the time Penn State had clinched its first lead of the match, Andre was struggling during the No. 5 singles match. He lost the first set 3-6, and was in the middle of a back-and-forth second set. 

Any misstep by the sophomore could have cost the Hoosiers the match and their season, but he forced a third set after winning the second by a score of 7-5.

Andre won his third set with a score of 6-1, evening the overall score at 3-3. All the while, Fletchall was in a fight of his own and entered into a third-set tiebreaker in the No. 2 singles match with winner-take-all implications.

Fletchall put together a dominant 7-2 performance in the tiebreaker, winning the last point with a masterfully-placed ace serve. The Hoosiers took the match 4-3 over the Nittany Lions and survived to face another opponent, the next one providing a much greater challenge.

Indiana faced No. 2-seed Michigan on Friday and couldn’t keep its tournament run going, ending its season with a 4-32 loss against the No. 7-ranked Wolverines. 

Michigan jumped out to an early advantage after grabbing the doubles point through wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots. Despite valiant efforts from the Hoosier singles players, the Wolverines did not relinquish their lead for the rest of the match.

Indiana’s deficit grew to 0-3 after Vukovic fell at the No. 3 singles spot and Singh lost at No. 4. From there, though, the Hoosiers battled to send three out of their four remaining matches into a third set.

Fletchall bounced back from an unsuccessful first set to win the No. 2 singles match 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Tiraspolsky continued the trend with a comeback win at the No. 6 spot, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4. 

Andre was also in the midst of a three-set match at No. 5 singles, but a 6-7, 3-6 loss by Haskins at No. 1 clinched the Wolverines’ decisive fourth point.

Despite the comeback effort, the Hoosiers came up just short in a 2-4 tournament loss that ended their season. Indiana finished its 2022 campaign with a 6-18 record overall and 1-10 performance in all of conference play.

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