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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin grabs pair of home victories

UW\’s Moritz Baumann earned two-set victories against both his singles opponents Sunday afternoon.[/media-credit]

Losing only one point Sunday, the Wisconsin Badgers dominated a double header against No. 70 Illinois State and Western Illinois, building up their confidence as they prepare for conference play.

The Badgers started the day off against the Illinois State Redbirds hoping for some tougher competition to give them a good fight.

While the Badgers won the doubles point, the Redbirds didn’t let them go three for three in doubles matches as Skip Span and Filip Miljevic found an 8-5 doubles win over senior Michael Dierberger and freshman Ricardo Martin.


Despite the loss, the Badgers still went into singles play with the advantage. In singles, the Redbirds gave the Badgers the fight they were looking for.

In the No. 1 singles position, junior Marek Michalicka fell 5-3 in the first set to ISU’s Alexander Pelaez, but fought back to a tiebreaker to win the set. In the second set, Michalicka seemed to feed off any frustration he was feeling and quickly buried Pelaez 6-3, winning the match.

Michalicka was not the only one who found himself struggling against the Redbirds. Freshman Billy Bertha never seemed to gain momentum against ISU’s Matej Zlatkovic.

Bertha started out strong winning a game over Zlatkovic, but soon fell behind as his frustration mounted, ultimately dropping the first set 6-4. After dropping the first set, Bertha had to win the second to force a third, but he never had a chance.

Zlatkovic won the only Redbird point on the day with a definitive 6-0 second set over Bertha.

Despite the struggles, Wisconsin dominated Illinois State 6-1 notching one win on the day. Head coach Greg Van Emburgh thought the team effectively took care of business.

“I think this morning’s match was pretty good,” he said. “It was a ranked team, so, [we] definitely weren’t taking them lightly… I thought the guys played well this morning. For the most part [we] really got what we needed to get done there.”

With only about an hour’s rest, the Badgers faced off against the Western Illinois Leathernecks. In a decision to not play any doubles matches Wisconsin was hoping to take out Western Illinois with their singles play alone.

That’s exactly what they did, shutting out WIU 6-0.

Getting a second chance to get a win on the day, Bertha found himself pitted against WIU’s Francisco Ortiz. Bertha never gave up the lead, downing Ortiz 6-0, 6-2. Van Emburgh noted Bertha’s earlier frustration and how it helped the later win.

“I’m sure he was disappointed,” Van Emburgh said. “He probably wanted to redeem himself — he didn’t play his best tennis this morning and the guy he played was actually a pretty solid player. I’m sure he wanted to come back and get a win under his belt for some confidence to take us into next Sunday against Illinois.”

Although the Badgers walked away with the win, it wasn’t without some struggle.

Senior Moritz Baumann couldn’t seem to find a rhythm early on in his match. Facing off against WIU’s Jeff Cote, Baumann had to put up a fight for his points. After a frustrating 6-4 set, Baumann eventually got the win with a 6-1 second set, securing the Badger shutout.

“Well I wasn’t really happy in the first set, the way I played,” Baumann said. “I won the first set and was happy about that and then I played better the second set. I thought I should make [those shots], especially if it was a tougher opponent.

“In the Big Ten season I can’t really afford those mistakes, so I get mad when I don’t make those easy points and don’t take care of business.”

Between the two matches, Van Emburgh got his full lineup in, giving everyone some time to prepare for upcoming conference play.

“The guys that didn’t get matches this morning, [I] wanted to make sure they also got matches today,” Van Emburgh said. “So that’s why we scheduled a double header and we were able to do that.”

While the Badgers were looking at today as a chance to prepare for the Big Ten season, they also used the double header as an opportunity to build up their confidence.

Freshman Chris Freeman felt the confidence, serving three aces in a row to win the third game of his first set against WIU’s Rodrigo Azevedo.

“I think these days of the double headers before the big matches are kind of confidence builders for us and all that stuff — for us to come out and execute and play well, to get some matches behind our belt, that helps us out a lot going into the tough matches in conference season.”

Baumann also noted the importance of confidence heading into the conference season.

“It’s all about confidence in tennis,” he said. “When you get wins, you play better automatically, but when you lose, you lose some confidence, so it’s good when you win those matches and play better tennis.”

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