Men’s Tennis: Northwestern’s doubles woes continue in Michigan

Abbey Chase, Reporter

On the road in Michigan this weekend, the Wildcats struggled against two lower-ranked opponents, coming home winless in two lopsided duals.

After a strong showing during the winter season, Northwestern is now 3-4 in Big Ten play. 

Saturday was not the Cats’ day. Playing against Michigan State indoors, NU fell behind early and could not make up the difference in its 5-2 loss to the Spartans.

For the third match in a row, the Cats went 1-2 in doubles, surrendering the decisive third match at the No. 1 spot after striking the first blow, with junior Raleigh Smith and senior Sidarth Balaji taking the No. 2 match 8-3 to begin the day.

With the first point in its favor, Michigan State kept its foot down, running off three quick straight-set victories to clinch the overall match. Though NU could not earn the win, the Cats continued to fight and senior Chris Jackman earned his 11th-straight victory at the No. 6 spot with a 7-6, 6-4 win . Balaji went on to take a three-set battle at the No. 3 spot  before Smith surrendered the final match of the day in a tiebreaker in the third set, bringing the final score to 5-2.

Facing off against Michigan on Sunday, NU got off to a similarly slow start, again falling behind 1-0 after dropping two of the three doubles matches. The deciding match featured Smith paired with freshman Mihir Kumar, a duo that pushed the Wolverines to a tiebreaker before falling 9-8(3).

Singles play mirrored the previous day’s performance, with Michigan running off three two-set victories to claim the match. At the No. 1 spot, senior Spencer Wolf gave No. 15 Evan King a competitive fight before falling 6-4, 7-6(4) in the match that sealed the victory for the Wolverines.

Smith went on to win the Cats’ lone singles match of the day, taking out Alex Petrone in three sets, while Jackman suffered a tough loss in the dual’s final contest. After winning the first set 7-5, the senior dropped the second and fought his way to a tiebreaker in the third. Jackman held a 4-2 lead in the breaker but could not consolidate and surrendered the match 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (5)