Indiana Daily Student

Indiana men’s tennis falters after strong start, falls 4-1 to Middle Tennessee State

Then-freshman Luka Vukovic runs toward the back of the court in a match on Feb. 29, 2020, at the IU Tennis Center. The Hoosiers lost to Middle Tennessee State 4-1 on Friday evening.
Then-freshman Luka Vukovic runs toward the back of the court in a match on Feb. 29, 2020, at the IU Tennis Center. The Hoosiers lost to Middle Tennessee State 4-1 on Friday evening.

Indiana men’s tennis traveled to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to take on Middle Tennessee State University for their first road test of the season Friday evening. The Hoosiers fell 4-1 to the Blue Raiders in their first loss of the season. 

The Hoosiers began strong in doubles play. For the third consecutive match to begin the season, the Hoosiers took the doubles point. 

“We believe that’s a strong part of our game,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. “We’re confident that we can play with anyone.” 

Freshman Ekansh Kumar and senior Luka Vukovic won at No. 3 doubles in dominant fashion, 6-1, to begin the match. After losing at No. 2 doubles, it was down to fifth-year senior Patrick Fletchall and junior Ilya Tiraspolsky to win the doubles point for Indiana at No. 1 doubles. They did so in a dramatic tiebreaker, 7-5, against graduate student Francisco Rocha and sophomore Oskar Brostrom Poulsen. The Middle Tennessee State duo is ranked No. 26 in the country. 

“Patrick and Ilya were great in doubles,” Wurtzman said. “They took down a really tough opponent.” 

Indiana couldn’t match that level of success in singles play, however. Middle Tennessee came out strong and the Hoosiers dropped the first set in five of the six singles matches. 

“We dug ourselves a hole and we couldn’t get out of it,” Wurtzman said.  

Middle Tennessee State breezed through the singles matches, winning at No. 1, No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6 singles to win the match 4-1. 

“As a team, we have to be better at staying focused throughout the entire match,” Wurtzman said. 

With the loss, the Hoosiers fall to 2-1 on the season. Next up for Indiana is a Sunday double-header against some in-state competition as Ball State University and Butler University come down to Bloomington Jan. 29. 

“We’ve got to get back to winning,” Wurtznan said. “We’ve got some winnable matches coming up.”  

The Hoosiers are home for the next month. Indiana’s next road trip is Feb. 24 when they travel to New York to take on Colgate University and Cornell University for a Friday double-header. 

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

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