Men’s Tennis: Northwestern wins two matches in successful weekend


Daily file photo by Sean Su

Strong Kirchheimer prepares a backhand shot. The junior returned to his home state as Northwestern defeated Duke this weekend.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

Northwestern swept two ranked teams in dominating fashion this weekend with wins over Notre Dame and Duke.

The No. 21 Wildcats (5-1) kicked off the weekend with a 6-1 victory over No. 35 Notre Dame on Friday in front of a spirited home crowd that nearly filled the entire viewing area. Then the team went to Duke on Sunday where it won 5-2 over the No. 24 Blue Devils.

“It was fantastic to have the students come out — it made a big difference in the (Notre Dame) match,” coach Arvid Swan said. “I felt like we had a great home court. I wanted to thank the students and the community for coming out and supporting our team.”

Friday’s match began with a quick win at No. 3 doubles by the team of junior Alp Horoz and senior Mihir Kumar by a score of 6-1. That was followed by a 6-2 victory at No. 2 doubles by juniors Sam Shropshire and Konrad Zieba in order to secure the doubles point.

NU continued its hot start with wins in five-of-six singles sets. The Cats continued to play with confidence and energy the entire night and secured the fourth and clinching point with straight-set wins by Shropshire at No. 2 singles, junior Strong Kirchheimer at No. 3 singles and freshman Ben Vandixhorn at No. 6 singles.

Shropshire was the first to wrap up his match at No. 2 singles by a score of 6-1, 6-4. The hard-hitting junior was often able to overwhelm his opponent with blistering shots to the corners.

“I was trying to be more aggressive (this match),” Shropshire said. “It was good to get a good start in the first set and to close it out in two.”

After the victory over the Fighting Irish, NU traveled to Durham, North Carolina for a matchup with the Blue Devils. Kirchheimer, a native of nearby Cary, North Carolina, was especially pumped to play against Duke.

“That’s exciting for me since I grew up 20 minutes away and was never recruited there,” Kirchheimer said.

That excitement translated into a resounding 6-0, 6-0 shutout by Kirchheimer at No. 3 singles. The Cats beat Duke 5-2, going ahead 5-0 and rendering the last matches insignificant to the final result.

NU also won the doubles point against Duke by virtue of a tight tiebreak win by the team of Shropshire and Zieba.

Once again, the match was clinched after just two sets of singles action with a 6-3, 7-5 win by Shropshire at No. 2 singles and a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles by Horoz, in addition to Kirchheimer’s double bagel.

“I thought we played a complete match,” Swan said. “We won four first sets and the two matches where we didn’t take the first set we won the second set.”

These victories give the Cats their third and fourth top-50 wins of the young season.

The Cats will look to continue their performance next weekend when they have a similar slate of matches against ranked teams Rice and Cornell.

“We’ve been working hard everyday in practice to try to get better still,” Swan said. “They’re playing at a good level now, but there is still room to improve.

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