Clutch win by frosh highlights 1-1 weekend (Men’s Tennis)

Franklin Kao

Northwestern split its doubleheader this weekend against Dartmouth and Arizona State University. The Wildcats defeated the Big Green 4-3 on Saturday and fell to the Sun Devils 6-1 on Sunday. NU is now 6-5 in dual play.

The Cats’ dual against Dartmouth was their “first close match,” freshman David Seyferth said. All of their other matches had been decided by a difference of five points or more.

No. 70 NU took the doubles point convincingly. Junior Marc Dwyer and sophomore captain Alex Sanborn won 8-2 at No. 1, and freshman Pete Rispoli and graduate student Alexander Thams went on a 4-0 run to clinch the doubles point with an 8-4 victory at No. 2.

The Cats were unable to keep the momentum in singles. Dwyer and senior Juan Gomez lost matches in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 5.

Sanborn and Rispoli won their matches in straight sets at No. 3 and No. 4 to keep the Cats ahead. But Thams fell 4-6, 6-2, 1-6 at No. 2.

With the score tied up at three points apiece, the winner of the dual would be decided at No. 6, where Seyferth and Dartmouth’s W. Stephen Greif were battling it out. Seyferth came back from a second-set loss to win 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and win the dual for NU.

“That was the first time, obviously as a freshman, being in that situation and I’m just glad I was able to come through,” Seyferth said. “Fortunately, I was already up a break when it became 3-3 (in the third set), so, I just had to keep playing the way I was. … I had it a little bit easier knowing I was already in control.”

The close win on Saturday was followed with a tough loss on Sunday. The dual lasted more than three hours, as the Cats fought gamely against the No. 37 Sun Devils.

After splitting No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, the point came down to the No. 1 pair of Dwyer and Sanborn. After being up a break and leading 4-2, the pair hit a roadblock and lost the match 8-5.

The Sun Devils carried their momentum in singles play, where five of the six NU players fell short in their first sets.

“We started off slow in singles,” Swan said. “That can’t happen if you’re going to beat a top-40 team. The guys competed hard in both matches, but that’s not really good enough. We gotta win those matches.”

Down and nearly out, NU rallied back, sending half of the singles matches to a third set. But Gomez and Thams both lost in the final set.

The last three-set match resulted in the Cats’ only singles victory, as Sanborn defeated ASU’s Andres Arango, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (8). Sanborn is now 9-2 in singles this winter, best on the team.

“During the match, I just try and stay positive,” Sanborn said. “Today, (I was) trying to stay up more on the court and control the points. If I stayed back and let him control, I would have been (beaten).”

NU will begin Big Ten play this Friday against Michigan at Ann Arbor, Mich.

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