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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

Indiana men's tennis duo claims doubles crown after strong showing at Big Ten Championships

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Juniors Michael Andre and Ilya Tiraspolsky took home the doubles title for Indiana men’s tennis with the team wrapped up the fall season over the weekend at the Big Ten Singles and Doubles Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Ten Hoosiers competed in the weekend event, with freshman Sam Landau and fifth-year senior Carson Hankins unable to make the trip north. 

Andre and Tiraspolsky took down Northwestern fifth-year seniors Simen Bratholm and Ivan Yatsuk in the doubles championship to secure the title. This was the first event of the season the two Hoosiers played together. 

“It was great to see those guys play so well together,” Indiana head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “They really did well this tournament and it was a great finish to the fall.” 

Tiraspolsky’s success didn’t end there as he also advanced to the quarterfinals in the singles draw. That’s where his run would end, however, as he fell in three sets to Wisconsin senior Sebastian Vile 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.  

After winning the doubles championship earlier in the day, Wurtzman said Tiraspolsky ran out of energy to make another deep run. 

“It was tough for him to reset,” Wurtzman said. “I don’t think he was able to find that level he needed to get through that match, it was just a lot of tennis.” 

Andre had success in the singles draw as well. He won three consecutive matches in the consolation bracket after losing his first match to open singles play. 

“He did awesome,” Wurtzman said. “After losing the first round he beat three quality opponents, it was good to see him step up and do well.” 

Another pair of Indiana players had a successful tournament as well. Junior Jagger Saylor and senior Luka Vukovic formed what Wurtzman called a young and energetic tandem, making a run to the semifinal before losing to a team from Nebraska. 

After losing in the first round, Saylor won three straight matches and finished 3-2 against singles opponents on the weekend.  

“Jagger had a great day on Saturday, he was able to beat two quality opponents,” Wurtzman said. “It was great for him to gain some confidence in singles.” 

Fifth-year senior Patrick Fletchall, the eldest Hoosier at the event, made it to the round of 16 in the singles draw before exiting the tournament. Fletchall fell to Michigan freshman Bjorn Swenson 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6).  

Swenson, the No. 1 seed in the singles draw, also defeated Fletchall during a tournament over the summer.  

“(Fletchall) played the number one seed and had match point,” Wurtzman said. “That’s someone he had played in the summer and hadn’t done nearly as well against. To compete that good against him was great to see.” 

Fletchall couldn’t find that same success in the doubles draw as he partnered up with freshman Ekansh Kumar. The duo lost their first and only doubles match over the weekend to sophomore Grayson Lair and junior Kazuki Matsuno from Michigan State. 

“We thought they would do well, they’re both great doubles players,” Wurtzman said. “They lost in a tiebreaker; it just came down to a couple points and they weren’t able to come through.” 

Overall, Wurtzman said he is happy with how the fall season went. 

“It’s gotten a little bit better each tournament and that’s great to see,” Wurtzman said. “If we can keep this consistency throughout the season, we’re going to get a lot of wins. I feel like we’re moving in a good direction.” 

With Indiana’s fall season now complete, the team won’t be back in action until the turn of the new year. 

Wurtzman said the Hoosiers are restricted in what they are allowed to do as far as workouts and training are concerned for the next two months. It is up to each individual player to keep up their training. However, the coaching staff isn’t concerned about that. 

“I do think they want to get better over the next two months,” Wurtzman said. 

As for the coming spring season, the Hoosiers have their sights set on the NCAA Tournament. 

“Our goal is to make the NCAA Tournament,” Wurtzman said. “That’s something that we push to do each year. That would mean a lot to this group.” 

After the short winter break, Indiana will open its spring season with a doubleheader at home. The team will host the University of Dayton and the University of Toledo on Jan. 15. 

Follow reporter Zach Browning (@ZachBrowning17) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s tennis season. 
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