Men’s Tennis: Northwestern shut out by No. 19 Duke


Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Ben Vandixhorn follows through on a backhand. The junior and the Wildcats had a tough time Sunday against Duke.

Benjy Apelbaum, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Tennis

Tough early season matchups and a young lineup typically do not mix well, and Northwestern continues to learn that lesson after its record dropped below .500 in a shutout loss to Duke.

The Wildcats (2-3) were dispatched 4-0 by the No. 19 Blue Devils (4-1) on Sunday. It was the fourth of five consecutive matches away from home for NU and the first of three straight against ranked opponents.

The Cats began by dropping the doubles point with losses at No. 1 and 3 doubles, while the team at No. 2 was tied at 5-all in its set. The pair of freshmen Antonioni Fasano and Nick Brookes at No. 2 doubles has yet to win a match in dual play this season and has lost three. In all five matches NU has played, the winner of the doubles point has gone on to win the contest.

The singles scores were not quite as lopsided as the shutout score would indicate, as the Cats won two of the five first sets that concluded before the match was clinched. However, the matches in which NU dropped the first set ended quickly.

The Cats’ starting freshmen, Fasano and Brookes, were both quickly defeated at No. 1 and 3 singles, respectively, the first singles loss of the season for Brookes. Sophomore Chris Ephron’s 6-3, 6-2 loss at No. 6 singles to No. 90 Robert Levine provided the fourth and clinching point for the Blue Devils.

Fasano has faced a tough slate after being thrust into the No. 1 singles spot to launch his college tennis career. So far, he has played three opponents ranked in the top 85 in dual matches this season. He had one of the most impressive individual efforts of the season in his opening day win against No. 16 Alexis Galarneau, but since then is 0-3 with another match left unfinished.

NU had a one-set lead in two of the three singles contests that did not finish against Duke. Junior Jason Seidman, who has a consistent play style and a tendency to play long points, was locked in a tight battle at No. 5, as has become typical for him this season. The first set had gone to a tiebreak that was knotted up at 7-all when Ephron’s second set concluded. Only one of Seidman’s four singles matches in dual play has been completed.

Sophomore Dominik Stary and junior Ben Vandixhorn won their first sets at No. 2 and 4 singles. However, both were behind in the second set when the match ended.

Still, the season, like the senior-less team that lost its top three players from last season, is young and has room to improve.

“Every experience is new, especially for the freshman,” coach Arvid Swan said. “We have guys who have different roles in the lineup or are playing higher in the lineup, so that’s a different experience as well.”

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