The No. 29 UW mens tennis team pulled out an impressive conference win on Saturday afternoon, defeating Purdue, 6-1, at its home court in West Lafayette, Ind.
For Purdue (7-2, 1-2), it was the teams second loss in as many days. The Boilermakers were undefeated heading into the week, but lost to No. 5 Illinois, 6-1, on Friday, and then dropped todays dual against Wisconsin (8-2, 2-1) by the same score.
While the final score was rather lopsided in UWs favor, head coach Greg Van Emburgh still gave the Boilermakers much respect.
The final score doesnt reflect how tough this match was, Van Emurgh said. They were ready to go in singles and won the first set in four of the six matches. We had our backs against the wall and showed a lot of heart in the way we were able to come back.
The Badgers displayed their superior depth at singles, coming up with wins at the No. 2 through No. 6 positions.
Freshmen Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) and Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) made quick work of their opponents, each winning in straight sets. Baumann took the No. 3 singles slot, beating Eric Hodgman, 6-4, 6-3. Dierberger followed with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Paul Foley at No. 5. The two rookies each have just one loss on the season, as Baumann improved to 8-1, while Dierberger now stands at 6-1.
Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) was able to shake off a tough start to notch a win at No. 6 singles. After losing to Scott Warner, 6-3, in the first set, the junior came back on a tear. Bellido dominated the rest of the match to the tune of a 6-0 sweep in the second set and a 6-2 finishing in the third.
Team captain Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria) followed Bellidos lead with a comeback of his own. At No. 4 singles, the senior lost a close, 7-5 first set to Kurt Zaske. Kasarov, however, would not let the first set discourage him, and fought back to win 6-4, 6-2 in the final two sets.
Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) was the third Badger to notch a win after a loss in the initial set. At No. 2 singles, Polley split the first two sets with Paul Rose, losing the first, 6-4, and winning the second, 6-1. Up 2-1 in the third, Rose was forced to retire due to an injury, giving Polley the win.
Brian Kuzmanovic came up with Purdues lone singles victory of the day, beating Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) in a close match at No. 1 singles, 7-5, 6-4.
Wisconsins singles success was preceded by a doubles victory.
Our doubles lineup is really strong, Van Emburgh said. Today wasnt necessarily our best performance at doubles, but the fact that we were still able to win two of three speaks positively about our ability.
Lefties Polley and Baumann, ranked No. 23 3in the nation, took care of the No. 1 slot, notching a victory over Warner/Zaske, 8-3. Sonkin and Kasarov won as well, defeating Hodgman/Kuzmanovic at No. 2 doubles, 8-5.
Wisconsins focus now shifts to its huge match-up tomorrow against No. 5 Illinois. The Badgers will head to Champaign, Ill., for the dual at noon.