Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Men’s Tennis: Northwestern defeats Chicago State, falls to Big Ten foes Michigan and Michigan State

Senior+Saiprakash+Goli+prepares+to+hit+the+ball.+Goli+won+in+straight+sets+in+his+match+against+Chicago+State+Sunday.
Daily file photo by Carlotta Angiolillo
Senior Saiprakash Goli prepares to hit the ball. Goli won in straight sets in his match against Chicago State Sunday.

The Combe Tennis Center hosted a trio of matches this weekend, as Northwestern took on Michigan, No. 18 Michigan State and Chicago State.

The Wildcats’ Friday night tilt against the Wolverines marked their first Big Ten home matchup. Michigan (10-10, 4-0 Big Ten) handily defeated NU (7-14, 1-3 Big Ten) 4-0.

The visitors managed to capture the doubles point after their No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams prevailed.

The Wolverines’ No. 1 doubles team of Gavin Young and Jacob Bickersteth — the 27th-ranked doubles team in the country — won the set 7-5 against the ’Cats’ duo of senior Gleb Blekher and junior Felix Nordby.

For the No. 3 doubles match, sophomore Chad Miller and senior Saiprakash Goli fell 6-3 to Michigan’s Bjorn Swenson and Mert Oral.

NU didn’t improve in singles play. 

Miller, the ’Cats’ No. 6, hastily fell to Nicholas Steiglehner 6-3, 6-4. At the No. 1 spot, Young — ranked 15th nationally in singles — defeated NU senior Presley Thieneman 6-4, 6-4. The matchup concluded on Court Five once freshman Greyson Casey was defeated by Will Cooksey 7-6(4), 6-2.

The remaining three matches were unfinished, but the ’Cats were in position to win each of them. No. 2 Blekher was set to enter a third set against Bickersteth, the 125th ranked player in the nation and a top-15 player in the Big Ten. No. 3 Goli was up 6-4, 4-4 when the match concluded, and No. 4 Nordby was one game into his third set.

NU’s busy weekend continued Sunday afternoon against No. 18 Michigan State (18-3, 4-0 Big Ten), the third-ranked team in the Big Ten. The result was similar to Friday night, as the ’Cats fell to the Spartans 5-2.

Unlike Friday night, however, NU won the doubles point in shocking fashion. After the No. 2 pairing of Casey and Thieneman defeated the 68th nationally ranked duo of Ronald Hohmann III and Sebastien Collard 6-3, the No. 1 doubles match was the surprise of the weekend.

Michigan State’s duo of Ozan Baris and Max Sheldon is the No. 3 ranked doubles team in the country, but Blekher and Nordby brought their A-game and played the role of giant-slayers, defeating Baris and Sheldon 6-3.

Although NU won the doubles point, singles play was a different narrative. The ’Cats won just one of five matches, as No. 4 Nordby defeated Sheldon 5-7, 6-4, [10-8]. Of the remaining five matches, four were straight set losses for NU.

Facing the 34th ranked player in the nation in Hohmann III, Blekher was defeated 7-6(4), 6-0 at the No. 2 spot. No. 3 Goli lost 6-3, 6-3, while No. 5 Casey lost 6-3, 6-1. No. 6 Miller lost 6-3, 6-3.

At the No. 1 spot, Thieneman brought his momentum from his doubles victory to battle against the nation’s No. 11 Baris, who also ranks as the Big Ten’s best player. Baris prevailed 7-6(2), 5-7, [10-8], but Thieneman broke his five-match drought of failing to win a set in a singles match.

The ’Cats’ last opponent of the weekend was Chicago State (3-17, 0-4 Horizon), topping off NU’s non-conference schedule. Unlike the day’s earlier defeat, the hosts bounced back en route to a 4-0 victory.

Continuing the doubles success from earlier in the day, the ’Cats won the doubles point to open the matchup. The No. 3 doubles pairing of Miller and Goli took care of business in less than 20 minutes, defeating Percy Siercke and Andrei-Rares Negrut 6-0.

The No. 1 doubles spot, belonging to Blekher and Nordby, notched its second victory of the day, defeating Pedro Alvarez and Max Sandoval 6-4.

Miller and Goli’s momentum from their doubles match clearly rolled over to singles play. No. 6 Miller dominated Negrut 6-1, 6-2, the best match of his career. Goli, who played at the No. 2 slot in this match, won 6-0, 6-3, against Rodrigo Alves. Both players won in straight sets after suffering straight set losses earlier in the day.

Blekher, typically the No. 2 for the ’Cats, did not suit up against Chicago State for singles play. Junior Max Bengtsson moved into the No. 5 slot, playing his first career match. He beat Siercke 6-4, 6-1. The remaining matches were unfinished, as NU’s three straight set victories clinched its victory.

The ’Cats will return to the court in Madison to face Wisconsin on April 5.

Email: [email protected]

X: @CharlieSpungin

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