The 30th-ranked University of Wisconsin mens tennis team lost a heartbreaker to No. 9 Notre Dame Saturday afternoon at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The match came down to the wire with the Fighting Irish prevailing with a 4-3 victory. With the loss, Wisconsin is now 4-3 on the year, while Notre Dame improves to 6-1. All three of the Badgers losses have been to teams ranked in the top-20 nationally.
The Fighting Irish scored the first point of the match when they took two of the three doubles matches.
The Badgers took the early advantage in doubles play when the 26th-ranked team of senior Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) and sophomore Luke Rassow-Kantor (Westport, Conn.) defeated the team of Andrew Roth and Stephen Havens 8-6 at No. 2 doubles.
The Irish tied things up with a win at No. 1 doubles. Brett Helgeson and Sheeva Parbhu knocked off the No. 42 duo of senior Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and sophomore Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) 8-6.
Notre Dame secured the first point with a win at No. 3 doubles. The team of Santiago Montoya and Tyler Davis bested the pair of sophomores Michael Muskievicz (Homewood, Ill.) and Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) 8-6.
Wisconsin tied the match up at 1-1 once singles play got started.
Michalicka remained unbeaten in his Badger career when he defeated Havens at No. 4 singles. The sophomore won in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.
Notre Dame took the lead back with a win at No. 6 singles. Daniel Stahl knocked off Rassow-Kantor 7-6, 6-3 to give the Irish a 2-1 advantage.
The Badgers came right back and tied things up at 2-2. Sonkin improved to 2-3 on the year with a win at No. 3 singles, defeating Roth in three sets. Roth took the first set 6-3, but Sonkin rallied back to win the last two sets 6-2, 6-4.
The Fighting Irish took the lead again at 3-2 with a win at No. 1 singles. 11th-ranked Brett Helgeson defeated No. 39 Baumann with a three-set victory. After dropping the first set 6-3, Helgeson took the next two with a 7-5, 6-3 win.
Sophomore Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) tied things up for the Badgers with a big three-set win at No. 5 singles. In a hard-fought match, Dierberger beat David Anderson 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.
The match all came down to the No. 2 singles match of No. 100 Polley and Parbhu. Polley struck first as he took the opening set 7-6. Parbhu answered back though, winning the second set 6-2. With the individual match and team match coming down to the last game, Parbhu prevailed with a 7-6 victory in the third and final set.
The University of Wisconsin mens tennis team returns to action next weekend when it travels to Louisville, Ky. to take on the University of Louisville on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Nashville, Tenn. to face Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 17.