The 32nd-ranked University of Wisconsin mens tennis team closed out the home portion of its schedule with a 7-0 sweep of Minnesota (5-15, 3-5) on Sunday afternoon at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Badgers finished the season 11-0 at home, giving them their first undefeated season at home since going 10-0 in 1991.
Sundays match also marked the final home match for seniors Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru), Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.).
Wisconsin (15-8, 7-2) moved out to a 1-0 lead after sweeping the three doubles matches.
The Wisconsin pair of Polley and sophomore Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) survived a rally from the Minnesota duo of Sebastian Gallego and Dino Bilankov to win 9-7. Baumann and Polley held a 6-3 lead, but the Gophers rallied and the match was knotted up at 7-7. Baumann and Polley improve to 7-7 in dual matches, 5-4 in the Big Ten and 5-6 at the No. 1 spot.
The clinching doubles point came when sophomores Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Luke Rassow-Kantor (Westport, Conn.) scored the win at the No. 2 spot. They defeated the pair of Chi-Lang Pham and Tobias Wernet 8-5. Dierberger and Rassow-Kantor opened up with a 7-2 lead, but had to hold off Pham and Wernet. With the victory, Dierberger and Rassow-Kantor are now 4-4 in dual matches and in the Big Ten and 3-3 at the No. 2 spot.
The Badgers got the sweep when Sonkin and sophomore Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) got the win at No. 3. Facing Pierre Dumas and Raoul Schwark, the UW pair held a 6-5 lead before winning the last two games to move to 3-3 in Big Ten and dual matches and 3-1 at the No. 3 position.
The lead was 2-0 when Baumann, ranked 44th, got the win at No. 1 singles over No. 88 Schwark. Baumann cruised in the first set 6-0, but had to work in the second. He fell behind 3-2 before coming back and winning out 6-4. He is now 9-9 in dual matches and at the No. 1 spot and 5-4 in the Big Ten.
Rassow-Kantor made it 3-0 with his win at No. 6 singles. Taking on Dumas, Rassow-Kantor prevailed 6-3, 6-2. In the first set, Rassow-Kantor opened with a 4-1 lead before winning, while in the second set he led at 3-2 before winning the last three games. Rassow-Kantor improves his record to 4-8 in dual matches, 2-3 in the Big Ten and 2-2 at the No. 6 position.
Bellido finished his home career, and gave Wisconsin a 4-0 lead, with a win at No. 5 singles over Pham. Bellido scored a 6-4, 6-1 win to improve his record to 11-5 in dual matches, 4-3 in the Big Ten and 6-3 at the No. 5 spot. In the first set, Pham led 4-3, but Bellido came back and won the last three games.
It was 5-0 when Michalicka, ranked 113th, beat Gallego at No. 3 singles. Michalicka won the first set 6-2, but the second proved to be more difficult. The match was tied 3-3 when Michalicka pulled ahead 5-4. Gallego fought back and forced the match into a tiebreaker, but Michalicka was able to overcome it and win 7-4. His record now sits at 19-2 overall, 7-2 in the Big Ten and 8-1 at No. 3 singles.
Like Bellido, Sonkin closed out his Nielsen career with a win. Playing at No. 5 singles, Sonkin used a big comeback to defeat Bilankov. After losing the first set 6-1, Sonkin fell behind 4-1 in the second. He rallied back and tied the match at 5-5, before winning the second set 7-5. The third set belonged to Sonkin as he opened it up with a 3-0 lead. He would go on to win the set 6-3 to improve his record this year to 8-11 in dual matches, 5-2 in the Big Ten and 6-6 at the No. 4 spot.
Wisconsin made it a clean sweep when Polley won at No. 2 singles over Wernet, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. The match was tied at 4-4 in the opening set, but Wernet won three of the last four games to take the early lead. In the second set, Polley fell behind 1-0, but stormed back and won 6-2. In the final set, Polley started strong as he opened up a 5-0 lead. Wernet mounted a small comeback, but Polley finished him to improve his record to 16-4 in dual matches, 8-1 in the Big Ten and 9-4 a the No. 2 spot.
The Badgers return to action next Sunday when they close out the regular season at Michigan State. Match time is set for 11 a.m.