Men’s Tennis: Northwestern beats Michigan State, falls to Michigan


(Alison Albelda/The Daily Northwestern)

Nick Brookes hits a backhand. The freshman won his singles match Friday against Michigan State in straight sets.

Alison Albelda, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

This weekend, Northwestern finished with one victory and one loss against Big Ten foes Michigan State and Michigan.

Friday night featured a 6-1 win by the Wildcats against the Spartans (8-14, 1-6). The second match of the weekend ended with an NU (9-12, 4-3) loss by a 4-0 score against the No. 11 Wolverines (16-4, 5-2).

The Cats’ domination of Michigan State was marked by victories in five of the six singles matches, three of them being in straight sets, and the acquiring of the doubles point.

Interim coach Chris Klingemann said the doubles performance against the Spartans was exactly what NU needs to do to ensure more wins.

“We have struggled in doubles this year, it is no secret,” Klingemann said. “We made a few adjustments and I think we played a lot better doubles today. … We hope to win more doubles points in the future, because if we start to win more doubles points we are going to roll through a lot of matches.”

The top doubles spot is held by sophomore-junior combo of Dominik Starý and Ben Vandixhorn. They won their match 6-1 and both also won their individual matches, with Starý obtaining his victory in straight sets.

Vandixhorn, who holds the No. 3 seed for the Cats, won his match against Michigan State’s Josh Mukherjee in the third set: 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. He said he strives to be an example for the rest of his team by bringing energy and noise, and that he improves with every match.

“I need to work still on starting off the matches better,” Vandixhorn said. “The first set I didn’t start off very well, so I was aware of that going in to my second and third sets. I (have) lost a few first sets now, so I need to work on that.”

On Sunday against Michigan, Vandixhorn started off his first set well against 118th-ranked Myles Schalet, but was unable to follow through, resulting in a 6-4, 6-2 loss.

Other ranked opponents from Michigan included 7th-ranked Alex Knight, who lost the first set to the currently unranked Starý. Still, Starý and Knight did not finish their match given Michigan clinched the overall match prior to their finish.

Freshman Nick Brookes, who plays the No. 2 seed for singles and doubles with junior Jason Seidman, lost to 34th-ranked Runhao Hua on Sunday in straight sets.

Brookes said the doubles point is crucial to build momentum going into the singles matches and that each match is a learning experience.

“We are obviously a young team,” Brookes said, “So it is all about building for the future and trying to learn from matches like these. … If I go in with an open mind and view it as a match where I am trying to learn as much as I can, usually that is when I play my best tennis and therefore the result comes accordingly.”

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