Indiana continues success with close win in Evanston (Men’s Tennis)

Tania Ganguli

The first sets of the singles matches were over, and things were looking good for the Northwestern men’s tennis team Saturday at Combe Tennis Center.

The Wildcats lost the doubles point but won four out of six first sets and seemed on track to hand Indiana its first loss of the season. But Indiana had other plans.

The Hoosiers (8-0, 2-0 Big Ten) came back from a rocky singles start to edge NU (5-2, 1-1) 4-3 with a win by Petr Novotny over Josh Axler.

“We were up, we were down, we had it, then we didn’t have it,” NU senior Jackie Jenkins said. “We didn’t take some of the chances we had, and they took advantage of it.”

After losing the doubles point, NU sophomore Tommy Hanus handed Jakub Praibis his first loss of the season in straight sets. The match was close until the middle of the first set. Then something caught on for Hanus, and Praibis could only watch his opponent dismantle him.

“It wasn’t my match,” Praibis said. “I had a chance, but I lost my game early.”

Then NU senior Jackie Jenkins took out Viktor Libal. Early in the first set, Libal sprinted to the net to reach a Jenkins volley, then slipped and fell on his back.

Jenkins kept him there for the rest of the match.

“Look at the score,” Libal said. “My opponent played well and I never had a chance.”

NU’s Ahmed Wahla defeated Julien Vulliez in three hard sets complete with questionable calls which frenzied “Frenchie,” as the Indiana freshman was called by his teammates.

But that win was balanced out by NU freshman Adam Schaechterle’s loss to Indiana’s Ryan Recht.

“I was really upset, but we had three experienced guys still out there,” Schaechterle said. “When Ahmed won, I thought there would be no problem.”

But there was a big problem: Indiana would not go away.