Indiana men’s tennis returned to Bloomington for the final time this season to take on Big Ten opponents No. 61 Wisconsin and No. 75 Nebraska.
The Hoosiers went 0-2 on the weekend in some of their most evenly-matched contests all year, extending their losing streak to 10 consecutive matches.
The doubles point proved to be just as important to securing victory on Friday’s match against Wisconsin as it has been all year. Despite an even round of singles between the teams, the Badgers’ early advantage after taking the first point ultimately won them the match in a 4-3 outcome.
Wisconsin was dominant in the doubles round, quickly winning the No. 3 match against Indiana sophomores Michael Andre and Nishanth Basavareddy 6-1 and the No. 2 match against Indiana senior Patrick Fletchall and sophomore Ilya Tiraspolsky 6-3. The Badgers were also ahead in the unfinished No. 1 match by a score of 5-1.
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The singles round was much more balanced, however, and the Hoosiers won three out of the first five matches to even the score at 3-3.
Fletchall and Tiraspolsky defeated their opponents in straight sets by scores of 6-2, 6-4 and 6-4, 6-4, respectively. Despite losses from Indiana seniors Carson Haskins at No. 1 and Vikash Singh at No. 5, Andre’s three-set win over Wisconsin junior Robin Parts 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 notched the stabilizing point.
In a recurring theme throughout many of Indiana’s recent contests, the match came down to one deciding point. On Friday, it was a faceoff between Indiana junior Luka Vukovic and Wisconsin junior Gabriel Huber. Huber came out on top with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory, winning the match for the Badgers.
Sunday’s match against Nebraska had a hopeful beginning, but a similar outcome to Indiana’s match against Wisconsin.
The Hoosiers got off to a promising start, winning two competitive doubles matches by scores of 6-2 at the No. 1 spot and 7-5 at No. 3, thus earning a 1-0 start.
Indiana had been undefeated in matches after winning the doubles point, with the exception of its match against Michigan State on April 8. The odds were against the Hoosiers once again, though, and they went on to take only one additional point in their 4-2 loss.
Fletchall was a quick winner at No. 2 singles, grabbing a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Nebraska freshman Calvin Mueller.
The remaining five matches were much tighter – the No. 3 competitors entered a seven-point tiebreaker in the second set, and both the No. 5 and No. 6 matches went into a third set.
The Hoosiers were unable to close out any of the three close matches, resulting in three points for the Huskers. Nebraska freshman Roni Hietaranta’s 6-3, 6-4 win over Singh, the lone senior day honoree, sealed a Husker victory and handed the Hoosiers a double-digit losing streak.
Indiana has one more weekend to get into the win column in Big Ten play before the conference tournament starts on April 28. The team will travel to Illinois on April 22 to face the Fighting Illini and stay in-state for their last regular season match against Northwestern on April 24.