The 35th-ranked University of Wisconsin mens tennis team saw its four-match winning streak come to an end Sunday afternoon with a 6-1 loss at No. 2 Ohio State. The Badgers fall to 13-8 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, while the Buckeyes improve to 24-1 on the season and 6-0 in conference play.
Ohio State got things started by sweeping the three doubles matches.
The 27th-ranked pair of Steven Moneke and Bryan Koniecko won at the top doubles spot with an 8-4 victory over the Badger duo of senior Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and sophomore Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany). Baumann and Polley are now 5-7 in dual matches, 3-4 in the Big Ten and 3-6 at the No. 1 position.
The Buckeyes got the win at the No. 2 position thanks to another ranked doubles team. The No. 13 team of Justin Kronauge and Drew Eberly defeated sophomores Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Luke Rassow-Kantor (Westport, Conn.) 8-1. With the loss, Dierberger and Rassow-Kantor are now 2-4 in dual matches and in the conference and 1-3 at No. 2 doubles.
The sweep of doubles came with a win at No. 3 for the Buckeyes. Balazs Novak and Shuhei Uzawa topped senior Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) and sophomore Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) 8-3 to finish things off. Bellido and Michalicka fall to 4-2 in dual matches and at the No. 3 spot and to 2-1 in Big Ten matches.
Ohio State kept things rolling in singles play, taking five of the six matches.
Wisconsins lone win on the day came at No. 4 singles. Dierberger dropped the first set to Eberly 6-2, but battled back to win the second set 7-5. The team match had been decided by this time, so Dierberger and Eberly played one game in the third set to determine a winner. Dierberger won the tiebreaker 1-0 to move to 11-4 on the spring season, 5-1 in the Big Ten and 2-1 at the No. 4 position.
It was a matchup of top-45 players at No. 1 singles as No. 18 Koniecko squared off against No. 45 Baumann. Koniecko got the better of Baumann on this day, winning 6-3, 6-3. Baumann falls to 8-8 in dual matches and at the No. 1 position and to 4-3 in Big Ten play.
No. 2 singles saw Moneke, ranked 33rd, take down No. 99 Polley. Moneke won the match 6-3, 6-3 and snapped Polleys 12-match winning streak in the process. Polley is now 14-4 in dual matches, 7-4 at the No. 2 spot and 6-1 in Big Ten play.
Another battle of top-100 players took place at No. 3 singles as Kronauge, ranked 17th, took on No. 100 Michalicka. Kronauge scored a win in the first set 6-0, but Michalicka bounced back and won the second set 6-4. Kronauge would prove too much though as he won the deciding set 6-4. Michalicka drops to 17-2 overall, 6-1 at No. 3 singles and 5-2 in the Big Ten.
The match at No. 5 singles was also pushed to a third set. Uzawa won the first set against Rassow-Kantor 6-2, but Rassow-Kantor answered back and won 7-5 in the second frame. The team match was again decided at this time so a third-set super tiebreaker was used with Uzawa coming out on top 1-0. Rassow-Kantor is now 4-7 in dual matches, 1-3 in the Big Ten and 1-5 at No. 5 singles.
Novak made quick work of Bellido at No. 6 singles, winning in straight sets 6-1, 6-1. Bellido falls to 9-5 in dual matches, 2-3 in the Big Ten and 4-2 at the No. 6 position.
Wisconsin will returns to action this weekend as it will play in its final home matches of the year. On Saturday, April 12 Wisconsin faces Iowa at 11 a.m. On Sunday, April 13 Minnesota comes to town for a 12 p.m. match. Nielsen Tennis Stadium will be the site for both matches.