University of Wisconsin men’s tennis was blanked this weekend in consecutive matches, but by no means is its season in jeopardy of falling out of control.
The Badgers (13-3 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) came upon some of the stiffest competition in the country, falling 4-0 to both No. 13 Northwestern (19-2 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) and No. 15 Illinois (13-7 overall, 4-1 Big Ten). The Wildcats and Fighting Illini each have three singles players ranked within the ITA top-100 at their disposal and played at home, which, in the end, were too much for Wisconsin to overcome.
Just like the 5-2 loss to No. 8 TCU in February served as a learning experience, with the Badgers winning seven consecutive matches after, this past weekend can serve the same purpose.
At No. 13 Northwestern
Wisconsin started the weekend with a trip to Evanston, Illinois Friday — where the Wildcats hadn’t lost in 13 matches, dating back to last season.
Despite first doubles pair of Josef Dodridge/Lamar Remy winning (6-3), Northwestern took the other two matches and with it, the doubles point.
With the first point of the day already decided, Northwestern continued to roll.
Remy shined in the third singles spot by edging No. 97 Strong Kirchheimer 6-4 in the first set and was the only Badger to win a set on the day — an impressive feat against his first ranked opponent this season. The match would go unfinished (6-4, 2-6), however, as Northwestern clinched victory early on with three straight victories in singles play.
Alexander Kokorev played No. 13 Konrad Zieba tight at the second singles spot, trailing 6-3, 5-4 when the match was called off at the same time as Remy’s, as well as Osgar O’Hoisin’s. O’Hoisin narrowly lost his first set by way of an 8-6 tiebreaker and was down 5-2 at the time of Northwestern clinching.
Dodridge fell to No. 42 Sam Shropshire (6-2, 6-2), his third loss in straight sets this season, up to that point and was followed in suit by Chema Carranza and John Zordani who each dropped their matches in straight sets as well.
- Sam Shropshire (NU) [#42] def. Josef Dodridge (UW), 6-2, 6-2
- Konrad Zieba (NU) [#13] vs. Alexander Kokorev (UW), 6-3, 5-4, unfinished
- Lamar Remy (UW) vs. Strong Kirchheimer, (NU), 6-4, 2-6, unfinished
- Fedor Baev (NU) vs. Osgar O’Hoisin (UW), 7-6 (8-6), 5-2, unfinished
- Alp Horoz (NU) def. Chema Carranza (UW), 6-2, 6-4
- Ben Vandixhorn (NU) def. John Zordani (UW), 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
- Dodridge/Remy (UW) def. Baev/Kirchheimer (NU), 6-3
- Zieba/Shropshire (NU) def. Carranza/Jakhongir Jalalov (UW), 6-3
- Horoz/Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Darius Mackenzie/Zordani (UW), 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,5,6)
At No. 15 Illinois
Traveling further into the heart of Illinois did not help the Badgers, who came away empty handed for the second time that weekend.
Wisconsin faltered in doubles play again and dropped all three matches this time. Dodridge/Remy were handed their fourth loss (6-2) in doubles play to put them at 10-4 this season. The margin of defeat decreased for Carranza/Jalalov (6-4) at second doubles and Mackenzie/Zordani’s match went unfinished.
Remy continued his exemplary effort in singles play, with his match going unfinished for the second time. Facing No. 59 Aron Hiltzik was no overbearing task, and Remy fought back to a 6-5 lead in the second set after dropping the first 6-4.
Much was the same for the rest of the team though, with Dodridge again falling in straight sets at first singles (6-2, 6-1), his fourth straight-set loss of the season to No. 4 Aleks Vukic. Despite the loss, Dodridge continued to gain experience against some of the best collegiate players, having already played No. 42 Shropshire, No. 15 Alex Rybakov and now Vukic.
Kokorev lost (6-4, 6-1) to No. 10 Jared Hiltzik at the second singles spot and O’Hoisin lost (6-4, 6-3) to give the Fighting Illini the clinching point.
Carranza and Zordani each won their first set but then dropped their second sets. In the middle of their third sets, the final point was clinched and each match then went unfinished.
- Aleks Vukic (ILL) def. Josef Dodridge (UW), 6-2, 6-1
- Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. Alexander Kokorev (UW), 6-4, 6-1
- Aron Hiltzik (ILL) vs. Lamar Remy (UW), 6-4, 5-6, unfinished
- Julian Childers (ILL) def. Osgar O’Hoisin (UW), 6-4, 6-3
- Asher Hirsch (ILL) vs. Chema Carranza (UW), 3-6, 6-1, 2-2, unfinished
- Brian Page (ILL) vs. John Zordani (UW), 4-6, 6-1, 0-1, unfinished
- A. Hiltzik/Vukic (ILL) def. Dodridge/Remy (UW), 6-2
- Pengxuan Jiang/J. Hiltzik (ILL) def. Carranza/Jalalov (UW), 6-4
- Childers/Page (ILL) vs. Mackenzie/Zordani (UW), 4-4, unfinished
With two disappointing results, Wisconsin can only put the weekend behind them and look ahead to this weekend at home against Michigan State and No. 20 Michigan.