Men’s Tennis: Northwestern looks for successful Big Ten weekend


Daily file photo by Brian Lee

Dominik Starý hits the ball. The sophomore will be challenged by a tough Michigan lineup on Sunday.

Alison Albelda, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

With a busy Big Ten weekend ahead, Northwestern is aiming for success at home against Michigan State on Friday and Michigan on Sunday.

Friday’s match against the Spartans marks the fourth of the Wildcats’ (8-11, 3-2 Big Ten) nine consecutive conference contests.

The Cats are fresh off a thrilling 4-3 victory against Purdue on Wednesday, propelled by freshman Antonioni Fasano’s third-set tiebreak clinch after over three hours of play time.

Michigan State (8-12, 1-4) also earned a tight 4-3 win against the Boilermakers last week. That followed a tough loss to Indiana, falling 4-3 to a Hoosiers team that lost to the Cats last month.

Interim coach Chris Klingemann said although NU did what Michigan State was unable to do by edging out Indiana, that is no cause for excitement. He said the Cats need to clinch the doubles point to ensure success.

“We have not been as successful as last year in terms of winning the doubles point,” Klingemann said. “We are going to win a lot of matches in the Big Ten if we start winning the doubles point, so I think that is a big factor.”

The top doubles pair for the Cats, the junior-freshman combo of Michael Lorenzini and Nick Brookes, are essential for nabbing the doubles point they may need to defeat the No. 11 Wolverines (15-3, 4-1).

Brookes, who plays the No. 2 seed for singles, paired with junior Jason Seidman on Wednesday and won their doubles match. Brookes said the doubles pair is focusing on its execution, especially against tougher teams like Michigan.

“Part of it has been a bit of luck in there,” Brookes said. “We have lost quite a few deuce points early on in matches which cost us, but it is also down to an inability to execute a game plan as we would like to.”

Against the Wolverines, NU will face stiff challenges in seniors Alex Knight and Runhao Hua: Knight is ranked 7th nationally in singles, Hua is ranked 34th nationally in singles and their doubles pair is also ranked 7th nationally.

No players for NU are currently ranked in either singles or doubles, and the Cats sit at 0-5 for the season against competition ranked in the top 25.

Sophomore Dominik Starý will likely face Knight in the No. 1 singles matchup on Sunday, NU’s 100th all-time matchup against the Wolverines. Michigan defeated the Cats last year 4-3, extending its all-time record to 70-28-1 against NU.

Starý said his goals are to play his best and help his team get an overall win with victories in doubles and singles competition, but against a team as strong as the Wolverines, that will not be easy.

“Being a senior, (Knight) is pretty experienced with college tennis,” Starý said. “It is going to be hard, it is going to be a tough match. I’ll have to show up with my A-game.”

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