The No. 62 University of Wisconsin mens tennis team opened Big Ten play by snapping a 19-match losing streak to No. 71 Northwestern with a 7-0 victory on Saturday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. With the win, Wisconsin improves to 6-5 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Northwestern lost for the seventh time in eight matches and is now 6-9 overall and 0-3 in Big Ten play.
The Badgers took the early momentum as they won a tightly contested doubles session.
Senior Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and sophomore Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) struck first with a win at No. 2 doubles. The duo bested the team of Peter Rispoli and Alexander Thams 9-7. Polley and Baumann trailed 4-3, before rallying and jumping out to a 6-4 lead. Rispoli and Thams fought back though and forced a tie at 7-7. The Badgers pair was able to win the last two games of the match for the win.
Northwestern answered back with a win at No. 1 doubles. Marc Dwyer and Alex Sanborn knocked off Wisconsins senior Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) and Luke Rassow-Kantor (Westport, Conn.), ranked No. 37, 9-7. Neither pair was able to extend the lead to greater than two games during the match. Tied at 5-5, Sonkin and Rassow-Kantor took the next two games to make it a 7-5 advantage. The Wildcats rallied though and won the final four games to even the doubles matches at 1-1.
Wisconsin broke through and took a 1-0 lead with its win at No. 3 doubles. Senior Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) and sophomore Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) defeated the Wildcat pair of David Seyferth and Andrew McCarthy 8-6 to secure the first point for the Badgers. Bellido and Michalicka fell behind 2-1 early, but came back and won six of the next seven games to take a 7-4 lead. The Wildcats did not give up though, winning the next two games to cut the Wisconsin lead to 7-6. The Badgers were able to stave them off though and won when the Wildcats double-faulted on match point.
Sophomore Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) extended the Badger lead to 2-0 with a win at No. 3 singles. Facing off against Thams, Michalicka won in straight sets 6-0, 6-1. Michalicka is now 10-0 in his Wisconsin career.
The Badgers pushed their lead to 3-0 when sophomore Michael Dierberger was victorious at No. 6 singles. Dierberger downed Seyferth with a 6-2, 6-4 win. After breezing through the opening set, Dierberger found himself down 3-0 in the second set. He was able to battle back though and win six of the last seven games to record the win and improve his singles record to 6-2 on the year.
With a win at No. 2 singles, the Badgers clinched the victory and give themselves a 4-0 advantage. Polley beat Sanborn 6-2, 6-2 to give UW the win and improve his singles record to 5-3. Polley was up 3-2 in both sets before closing each out by winning the last three games.
Wisconsin made it 5-0 when Bellido won at No. 5 singles over McCarthy 6-2, 6-2. Bellido fell behind 1-0 in the first set before taking six of the next seven games. In the second set, Bellido again found himself down, this time 2-1. He was able to rally again and close out the last five matches to improve his record to 6-1.
Sonkin won his match at No. 4 singles to make it a 6-0 Badger lead. Sonkin defeated Rispoli 6-2, 7-5. While Sonkin took the first set rather easily, the second set proved to be a tight contest. Sonkin fell behind early at 2-1 and 3-2, but was able to even the score at 4-4. Rispoli moved ahead 5-4, but Sonkin was able to take the final three games and post the victory.
Baumann made it a clean sweep with his win at No. 1 singles. Baumann posted a three-set victory over Dwyer 6-1, 2-6, 6-0. With the win, Baumann is now 2-4 in dual matches and at the No. 1 position.
The Badgers return to action Monday when they host No. 29 TCU. Match time is set for 5 p.m. at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.