The No. 33 University of Wisconsin mens tennis team saw its season come to a close in the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. The Badgers fell to No. 3 UCLA 4-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The Badgers (18-10) fought hard in doubles and played the Bruins tight, but could not pull out the point.
UCLA (23-1) got the early advantage with a win at No. 3 doubles. The duo of Michael Look and Jeremy Drean beat the Wisconsin pairing of seniors Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) and Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru), 8-5. It was the first time that Sonkin and Bellido had played together this season. They held a 5-4 lead over Look and Drean, but the UCLA pair was able to rally back and win the final four games.
The clinching point came with a Bruin win at No. 2 doubles. Mathieu Dehaine and Holden Seguso topped the Badger duo of sophomores Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Luke Rassow-Kantor (Westport, Conn.), 9-7. The match was tied at 4-4, before Dierberger and Rassow-Kantor pulled ahead 6-4. UCLA came back though and evened things up at 6-6. Wisconsin regained a 7-6 lead, but the Bruin pair fought back and won the final three games to give them a 1-0 lead. Dierberger and Rassow-Kantor end the season with a record of 7-7 overall, 6-6 in dual matches and 5-5 at the No. 2 position.
With the doubles point decided, the match at No. 1 was stopped early. The No. 49 UW duo of sophomore Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) and senior Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) held an 8-7 lead over UCLAs No. 52 team of Harel Srugo and Nick Meister at the time of the stoppage.
The Bruins pushed their lead to 2-0 with a win at No. 3 singles. Dehaine, ranked 61st, topped Sonkin 6-2, 6-3. Sonkin, who was playing at the No. 3 spot for the first time since Feb. 20, finishes his season with a 13-18 record overall, a 10-13 mark in dual matches and a 1-5 record at the No. 3 position.
The lead grew to 3-0 when Drean defeated Bellido at No. 5 singles. Drean took the match in straight sets 6-4, 6-1. Bellidos final record is 14-9 overall, 14-7 in dual matches, and 8-5 at the No. 5 position.
UCLA finished off the match when Look got the victory at No. 4 singles. Dierberger won the first set 6-4, but Look fought back and won the second set 6-1. The third set belonged to Look as well, as he won 6-0. Dierberger ends the season with a 20-10 overall record, a 13-6 record in dual matches and a 2-2 mark at the No. 4 spot.
Two matches were still ongoing when the match was decided.
At No. 1 singles, No. 23 Srugo and No. 104 Polley were tied at one set apiece. Polley took the first set 6-4, while Srugo took the second set 6-1.
No. 40 Seguso and UW freshman Marek Michalicka (Ricany, Czech Republic) also were split at No. 2 singles. Seguso won 6-1 in the first set, but Michalicka answered back with a 7-5 win in the second set.
The loss ends an impressive season for the Badgers. They finished the year with 18 wins, their best total since winning 20 in 1990. The Badgers had an unblemished record at home this year, going 11-0. It was the first time since 1991 that the team had an undefeated home season. In the Big Ten, Wisconsin finished with eight wins for its highest total since 1982.