Men’s Tennis: Northwestern searches for upsets during busy slate


Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Dominik Stary prepares to return a shot. The sophomore and the Wildcats will face a pair of ranked opponents this weekend.

Benjy Apelbaum, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Tennis

Securing an upset is never easy, especially in college tennis. Tennis matches do not consist of just one contest, but a series of nine matches worth seven total points.

Northwestern will look to find a way to win a majority of those points as it faces off against a pair of undefeated opponents, No. 9 Oklahoma State (7-0) and No. 22 Notre Dame (6-0), before taking on a weaker Chicago State (1-3) to close the weekend. To have a chance of pulling off the upset, coach Arvid Swan said his Wildcats (2-3) will have to get in position to win on as many courts as possible.

“We have to get everybody playing the right way, and we can’t give up any spots,” Swan said. “We’ve got to play as a team, and we’ve got to support each other to the best of our abilities.”

NU can look to their last match, a 4-0 loss

    against No. 20 Duke, to see the difficulty of defeating a top team. In that match, the Cats dropped the doubles point but had good chances to win on three courts during the singles portion of competition.

    However, quick losses on the three other singles courts ended the match before the upset bid had a chance to get off the ground. Even with some players playing well, it was an uphill climb to get to four points.

    “In several spots, we were in a position to win; we just didn’t extend the match long enough,” Swan said. “It was good to see Ben (Vandixhorn) put together a really good match. I thought (Jason) Seidman was competing great and Dom (Stary) continues to play very well.”

    One spot where the Cats can look to compete is at No. 1 singles, where freshman Antonioni Fasano has shown promising flashes but struggled against the elevated competition. His win in the opening match against the then-No. 16 singles player in the country, in addition to his strong fall performance, have earned him a No. 92 ranking.

    Fasano said the biggest change for him has been transitioning his game from the outdoor clay he played on in his native Brazil to the indoor hardcourts NU typically plays on.

    “I’m trying to improve my game on hard court,” Fasano said. “Getting closer to the baseline is something I have to work on and adapt. That’s different from what I am used to on clay.”

    Getting closer to the baseline, and thus closer to the net, is more important on hard courts due to their faster speed and lower bounces, which prioritizes aggressive play to cut down on the time your opponent has to react.

    The Cats will square off against the Cowboys on the road Friday and the Fighting Irish at home Sunday afternoon before facing the Cougars on Sunday evening. Chicago State has struggled so far and has been forced to forfeit a singles and doubles match in previous contests due to a lack of available players.

    While the Cougars would need an upset to take down NU, the Cats will be in the opposite position for their first two matches.

    “As a team, we can compete harder in all positions,” junior Jason Seidman said. “We have a good team and we’re capable of beating these guys. We’ve just got to bring it every match.”

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