No. 53 Wisconsin men’s tennis will wrap up the 2016 regular season on the road this weekend against No. 64 Indiana and No. 59 Purdue.
After the Badgers (14-6 overall, 4-5 Big Ten) dropped two matches Friday and Sunday at home to No. 39 Penn State and No. 3 Ohio State, the team is now tied for sixth place with the Hoosiers and a win ahead of the Boilermakers. Wins this weekend will be of the utmost importance given the teams’ close proximities in the standings, but other potential developments in the Big Ten add to the weekend’s significance.
Penn State is only a win ahead of Wisconsin and facing No. 14 Northwestern and No. 15 Illinois this weekend, who are each vying for first place in the conference. With that, Penn State is likely to lose both matches and Wisconsin could surpass them by taking their two winnable matches.
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Indiana – Friday 5 p.m.
The Hoosiers (9-14 overall, 4-5 Big Ten) are winners of four straight matches and in the midst of a late-season push towards the Big Ten Tournament.
But first-singles player, No. 62 Sam Monette, has gone inconsistent as of late after a hot start. The senior is 2-4 in his last seven matches, one went unfinished.
Indiana has no other ranked singles players and the only two courts on which it boasts winning records are the first singles spot (13-8) and the sixth singles spot (8-6).
The match is winnable for the Badgers, but it will not be a cakewalk.
Purdue – Sunday 9 a.m.
The Boilermakers (14-9 overall, 3-6 Big Ten) have lost six of their last eight matches, which included a 4-2 loss to unranked Nebraska.
No. 44 Gergely Madarasz has some big wins on his resume this season, including one against No. 13 Konrad Zieba of Northwestern. The redshirt sophomore held two top-10 opponents in No. 2 Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State and No. 10 Jared Hiltzik of Illinois.
But No. 84 Benjamin Ugarte has been having trouble as of late. The junior’s last six matches have gone unfinished. But before that he was 12-3 to begin the season.
Purdue has been slipping as of late, making this another winnable match for Wisconsin. If the Badgers stick to their game, they could easily find themselves winners of two straight and in fifth place in the conference.