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The Indiana Daily Student

sports tennis

Indiana men’s tennis splits doubleheader, fails to unseat highly ranked Louisville

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After a nearly two-week break from competition, Indiana men’s tennis’ seven-game win streak was snapped on the road by the University of Louisville on Feb. 24. 

The loss widened the contrast of the Hoosiers’ home and road success, making them 9-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. Their road schedule has featured top-of-the-line opponents, including a 1-6 loss against the University of Memphis, who is currently ranked 20th in the nation, along with the most recent loss to No. 27 Louisville. 

The matchup started well for the Hoosiers, sealing the doubles point with a nail-biting finish. The point was secured thanks to a 6-4 win from the pairing of graduate student Carson Haskins and sophomore Sam Landau. Freshman Facundo Yunis and sophomore Luc Boulier dropped their set 6-4, putting the point in the hands of seniors Michael Andre and Ilya Tiraspolsky on Court 1. The duo squeezed out a 7-6 win after winning 8-6 in the tiebreak set. 

Before this match, Indiana won all its matches after sealing the doubles point, and it has helped the team get into a groove early. Getting off to a strong start and translating the momentum into the singles matches has consistently been a point of emphasis for the team, and a key to the team’s recent win streak. 

This was not the case against Louisville, as the Cardinals stole the momentum right away by sweeping all six courts in singles. This marks the Hoosiers’ first loss after winning doubles, and the first time this season they have been swept in singles. 

The heavyweight matchup on Court 1 was a critical one for the Hoosiers’ chances of victory, and it did not go in their favor. Louisville’s 40th ranked Etienne Donnet defeated Indiana’s 41st ranked Landau in two sets, winning 7-5 and 6-1.  

The first four courts went down without much of a fight, all losing in two sets, including Louisville No. 72 Will Mayhew dominating Indiana senior Jagger Saylor via 6-0 and 6-1 set wins. The match was clinched with Louisville sophomore Andre’ Steinbach defeating Tiraspolsky 10-5 in the third set. 

The Hoosiers bounced back in the second game of the doubleheader against the University of Southern Indiana with a 4-0 sweep in a neutral match at Louisville. Indiana snapped out of its funk from the earlier match and strolled to a victory where it didn’t lose a set, salvaging what it could from the weekend in a tune-up game against a Screaming Eagles team that has just one win on the season. 

The match allowed for some new faces to pick up victories, including senior Nishanth Basavareddy securing his first 2024 win in a doubles match with Andre. In just their fourth recorded singles match of the season, Boulier and sophomore Deacon Thomas also notched victories, giving the Hoosiers their 10th victory this season. 

The matches over the weekend didn’t answer the biggest question surrounding Indiana men’s tennis — can it beat quality teams on the road? 

With another blowout loss on the road against Louisville, it’s clear the quality road victory is still the missing piece for the strong resume of the No. 36-ranked Hoosiers’ season. With a home stretch ahead, it will be a considerable amount of time before they must answer the bell again, but head coach Jeremy Wurtzman has previously said that for the Hoosiers to go where they want, they have to win on the road, and that has yet to be seen. 

The Hoosiers are off again this weekend and will return to action against Illinois State University on March 8 at the IU Tennis Center.

Follow reporter Matt Rudella (@mattrudellaIDS) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s tennis season.

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