Indiana men’s tennis played its first of three matches on the road Saturday against No. 24 Cornell University. Despite a 7-0 final score line in favor of the Big Red, the match was closer than it appeared.
“I thought it really could have gone either way,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said following the loss. “There were a couple matches that came down to the wire.”
The match began with a highly competitive doubles point. Cornell started with a win at No. 1 doubles. Senior Luka Vukovic and freshman Ekansh Kumar answered with a win for Indiana at No. 3 doubles.
“It was great to see them play so well against that type of competition,” Wurtzman said of Vukovic and Kumar. “They gave us a chance to win the doubles point.”
With the win at No. 3 doubles, Vukovic and Kumar are now 9-1 together this season.
The doubles point came down to the match at No. 2 doubles. The freshman tandem of Sam Landau and Luc Boulier took a 4-1 lead early in the match, but sophomore Radu Papoe and senior Vladislav Melnic battled back for Cornell to force a tiebreaker. Ultimately, the duo from Cornell came out on top 7-5 in the tiebreaker to claim the doubles point for their team.
“It was a really close and a really competitive match,” Wurtzman said. “It came down to one or two points.”
Armed with a 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point, the Big Red carried that momentum into singles play.
Cornell quickly took three singles points by winning at No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 singles in straight sets.
“They got off to a strong start in those matches,” Wurtzman said. “We dug ourselves into a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”
Those three wins gave the Big Red a 4-0 lead and sealed the victory for Cornell.
Play continued at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 singles. All three matches went into a third set, but again the Hoosiers could not find a way to pull out a win.
The loss at Cornell on Saturday marked the third defeat of the season for Indiana. With two more away matches next weekend, the Hoosiers currently sit at 9-3 on the season.
“They are good,” Wurtzman said of Cornell. “It’s nice to see us compete against a top team.”
The Hoosiers will be back in the northeast next weekend to play Princeton University on Friday and Yale University on Sunday.