The No. 34 University of Wisconsin mens tennis team closed out its regular season in impressive fashion, sweeping Michigan State 7-0 Sunday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich. With the win, Wisconsin clinches the No. 2 seed heading into next weekends Big Ten tournament.
Wisconsin finishes the regular season with a record of 16-8 overall and 8-2 in the Big Ten. The 16 wins tie last seasons total, while the eight Big Ten wins are the most for the Badgers since 1982.
The Badgers started the day off against the Spartans by taking the doubles point.
Senior Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and sophomore Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) got the first win of the day with a victory at No. 1 doubles. Facing John Allare and Adam Monich, Polley and Baumann won 8-4. The Wisconsin duo moves to 6-6 at No. 1 doubles, 6-4 in the conference and 8-7 in dual matches.
The clinching doubles point came when sophomores Luke Rassow-Kantor (Westport, Conn.) and Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) won at No. 2 doubles. The pair easily defeated Alex Forger and Billy Gardner 8-2 to improve to 4-3 at the No. 2 spot and 5-4 in the Big Ten and in dual matches.
The Badgers made it a sweep of the doubles matches with a win at No. 3. Senior Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) paired up with sophomore Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) to take down Nick Rinks and John Stratton, 8-7 (7-5). With the win, Sonkin and Michalicka are now 4-1 at the No. 3 position and 4-3 in both the Big Ten and in dual matches.
It became 2-0 Wisconsin when Sonkin got the win at No. 4 singles. Sonkin topped Monich in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 to win for the fourth time in his last five matches. Sonkin currently sits at 6-2 in the Big Ten, 9-11 in dual matches and 7-6 at No. 4 singles.
Dierberger picked up the win at No. 6 singles to make it 3-0 in favor of the Badgers. Dierberger took down Brendan Kinkopf 6-1, 6-4 to win for the sixth time in seven matches. With the victory, Dierberger improves his record to 7-1 in the Big Ten, 13-4 in dual matches and 7-2 at the No. 6 spot.
Polley, ranked No. 109, won at No. 2 singles to push the lead to 4-0. In defeating Forger 6-2, 6-1, Polley won for the 15th time in his last 16 matches. He is now 10-4 at No. 2 singles, 9-1 in the Big Ten and 17-4 in dual matches this season.
It was a battle of nationally-ranked players at No. 1 singles as Baumann, ranked 55th, took on Rinks, ranked 117th. Baumann prevailed with a 6-3, 6-3 win to make it 5-0 Wisconsin. He now sits at 10-9 in dual matches and at No. 1 singles, while also improving to 6-4 in conference matches.
Michalicka continued his strong play with a win at No. 3 singles, giving the Badgers a 6-0 lead. Michalicka won over Allare 7-5, 6-2 to move his record to 20-2 overall, 8-2 in the Big Ten and 9-1 at the No. 3 position.
Senior Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) completed the shutout for the UW, downing Scott Rasmussen at No. 5 singles. After Rasmussen took the first set 6-3, Bellido bounced back and won 6-0 in the second set. With the team match already decided, a super tie-breaker was used for the third set. Bellido pulled out a 10-6 victory to give Wisconsin its second consecutive shutout. His record improves to 7-3 at No. 5 singles, 5-3 in the Big Ten and 12-5 in dual matches.
The Badgers will return to action this weekend as they travel to Iowa City, Iowa to compete in the 2008 Big Ten Championship. As the No. 2 seed, Wisconsin has earned a first-round bye and will face either Minnesota or Michigan State at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 25 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.