Men’s tennis sweeps Arkansas, falls to Michigan
January 30, 2023
Traveling to Ann Arbor for the ITA opener this weekend, Northwestern triumphed with a 4-0 win over Arkansas before stumbling on their home courts with a tough 4-0 loss to 4th-ranked Michigan.
The Wildcats came into the weekend after a loss to Louisville on Jan. 22 and struggled to narrowly play both games, starting with Arkansas on Saturday.
The pairing of graduate student Trice Pickens and Senior Nathan Spear started the team’s doubles effort, quickly and effortlessly winning their set and protecting their own undefeated doubles record.
NU picked up the colon shortly after, as the top duo of graduate students Ivan Yatsuk and Simen Bratholm broke the last game of their set and won 7-5.
After a convincing colon, the singles matches were more of a struggle. Bratholm grabbed the first single point for the Cats, beating Arkansas’ Adrien Burdet in straight sets 7-5, 6-4 and finishing well ahead of all other games.
Graduate Steven Forman stumbled early and relinquished the first set to Arkansas’ Stefanos Savva, but he broke Savva in the final game of the second set to win the set and force a third. He made quite the comeback in that third set, dominating him 6-0 and winning the second singles point for NU.
Junior Gleb Blekher secured the finish point, who won his first set 1 in a tight tiebreak and won set 2 6-4. The Cats defeated the Hogs 4-0 in a bout and pushed into Sunday’s game against fourth-ranked Michigan.
The match with the Wolverines started evenly in doubles with one win each – Michigan clinched one early before NU’s Bratholm and Yatsuk impressively caught one against Andrew Fenty and Gavin Young in 14th place, 6-4.
The colon went to Cats duo Pickens and Spear, who lost a narrow tiebreak to end their own unbeaten doubles record 4-0 and give the Wolverines the colon.
Michigan came out strong in the singles but NU fought back. The Wolverines snagged the first two singles points fairly quickly, with Bratholm and Junior Presley Thieneman both falling in straight sets.
At No. 2, Yatsuk lost the first set to Ondrej Styler at No. 16, but dominated to finish the second set 6-0 and force a third. Yatsuk narrowly played Styler but lost the third set in a tiebreak, giving Michigan their fourth and final point to end the match 4-0.
After this loss, the Cats will not be promoted to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, but they will return to Evanston after a hard-fought win and a hard-fought loss.
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