Men’s Tennis: Fasano’s heroics secure victory over Purdue


Daily file photo by David Lee

Antonioni Fasano hits a shot. The freshman rallied to win his singles match on Wednesday, giving Northwestern a dramatic win at Purdue.

Peter Warren, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Tennis

Northwestern’s four-game swing through the Great Plains and Midwest ended Wednesday in dramatic fashion against conference foe Purdue.

Behind a comeback from freshman Antonioni Fasano and three other singles victories, the Wildcats (8-11, 3-2 Big Ten) ended their road trip on a high note as they defeated the Boilermakers (8-12, 0-5) 4-3 in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“To come back in the way that we did and win it in a third set tiebreaker, with freshman Antonioni pulling that out to win two tiebreakers in the second and third set, was big time for us,” interim coach Chris Klingemann said. “We are all pretty pumped right now.”

In the No. 4 singles matchup, Fasano started slow and lost the first set 6-3 to Purdue’s Javier Rodriguez. He followed that up with a clutch 7-6 victory in the second set, winning the tiebreaker 7-4.

When the third set started, all other singles games had finished, meaning that both competitors knew their game would decide the winner. Fasano and Rodriguez again went to a tiebreaker, which Fasano again won 7-4.

Fasano cited changing his style of play as a reason for coming out with the victory.

“Managing to start to come in a little bit more, try to play more aggressive, come to the net,” Fasano said. “I think that was a key.”

Purdue started the contest off on the right foot by winning the doubles point. The Boilermakers’ No. 2 doubles side of Maksymilian Raupuk and Dominik Sochurek defeated the duo of freshman Nick Brookes and junior Jason Seidman 7-6 (7-2), while Purdue’s No. 3 doubles team of Renan Hanayama and Gergely Madarasz defeated sophomore Chris Ephron and Fasano 6-2.

In the No. 1 doubles matchup, sophomore Dominik Starý and junior Ben Vandixhorn defeated Athell Bennett and Mateo Julio 6-4.

“Going forward we really have to work on doubles,” Starý said. “In these type of matches, we are in a position to win the doubles point, but we always somehow manage to lose (it).”

The first singles match to finish was at No. 2, where Brookes picked up a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Raupuk. Ephron followed up Brookes’ victory with an easy 6-3, 6-1 triumph over Hanayama.

In the only matchup featuring a ranked competitor, Starý defeated 92nd-ranked Madarasz with a 7-5, 6-3 victory at No. 1 singles, which put NU up 3-1.

At No. 5 singles, Seidman and Bennett went back-and-forth. Seidman slumped in the first set 1-6 before returning the favor in the second, picking up a 6-1 victory. But Bennett pulled away in the third set, winning the matchup. The matchup between Vandixhorn and Julio also went three sets, with Julio winning 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

The match was held indoors at the Basham Courts in the Schwartz Tennis Center. Klingemann said every Big Ten away match is a challenge because of uncertainty about where the team will play.

“In the Big Ten, any time you are on the road, you never know if you are indoors or outdoors,” Klingemann said. “Conditions are always different. Indoors is always tough to get used to with different indoor facilities, different lighting, different court speeds from you are used to.”

Klingemann cited the team’s fight and grit as strengths during the past few weeks, and that strength was once again on display in Indiana.

“These guys just fought the whole way through,” Klingemann said. “We have been doing that lately. Some of the matches we have been on top, some haven’t gone our way, but these guys have really shown a lot of heart as of late.”

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