Badgers find consistency on doubles court in losing weekend

first_imgIf there’s one thing that the Wisconsin men’s tennis team can say about its back-to-back losses this weekend, it’s that the Badgers were consistent.In two home losses against Michigan at 5-2 and Michigan State at 6-1, Wisconsin clinched the doubles point in both duels. Unfortunately, the squad was also consistently unsuccessful from the singles courts, winning just one all weekend. The losses snapped the Badgers seven-game home winning streak and knocked them back to 8-7 overall.Although the Badgers did not sweep doubles in either duel, two out of three is all that they needed to gain the point and an early lead. However, there was uniformity in the Wisconsin doubles team that was winning. The pairing of Alexander Kostanov and Petr Satral at the No. 2 doubles position won against both Michigan and Michigan State.The partners were in high-pressure matches both times. On Sunday against the Spartans, Alex Robles and Rod Carey on the No. 3 doubles court were the first ones done with an 8-6 win over Gigs Linders and Denis Bogatov. Not far behind them, Fredrik Ask and Billy Bertha at No. 1 doubles fell 8-6.The match was a battle of powerful serves and returns, as there were nearly as many breaks as there were held service games. The Badger pair trailed for most of the match but broke at 4-4 and 5-5, as both games were won without dropping a point.The Spartans regained the lead at 6-5 with a break of their own and went on to win 8-6. With the first two matches split, Satral and Kostanov would decide the fate of the doubles point. Neither team was able to pull away until a crucial Badger break at 4-3 followed by a held service game.This proved to be the match-determining sequence as no more breaks occurred during the remainder of the match, and the No. 2 doubles pair won the match and the point at 8-6.“It helps with confidence,” Carey said of winning the doubles point. “Being able to carry the moment out from doubles into singles helps a lot.”The momentum that Carey used from his doubles win helped him gain an early lead in his singles match, his first appearance on the No. 2 singles court this year. Carey and his Spartan opponent, Ronnie Hulewicz, showcased unwavering power and accuracy in their serves, which prevented either from breaking the other. Carey was eventually able to expose some cracks in Hulewicz’s game and broke him at 3-1. However, Carey’s lead could not withstand several deuce games later in the set, as he relinquished the lead at 6-5 and the set at 7-5.“[Hulewicz] is tough to play, he doesn’t make a lot of errors,” Carey said. “It is easy to get strayed especially if you lose a couple points then he gets in a groove and gets some confidence.”In the second set, Carey was unable to shake the emotional toll that the first set took on him and quickly fell 6-0, becoming the first singles player off the court.“I was just so upset about the first set, and it was hard for me to get myself going again because I really thought I should have won the set 6-1,” Carey said. “I got a mental block after knowing that I should have won then losing 7-5.”Despite winning just one singles match all weekend, Wisconsin was competitive in each match. Most matchups were close, and a handful went to three sets and tiebreakers.The Badgers saw seven of their 12 singles matches go to three sets over the course of the weekend. Of the seven three-set matches, the Badgers were victorious in just one.Against Michigan, Andy Quirk took Alex Buzzi to three sets and recorded the only singles win of the day at 6-0, 3-6, 7-5. Meanwhile, five other sets had to be determined by a tiebreaker, but the Badgers still struggled to get results.Against Michigan State, the only tiebreaker in Wisconsin’s favor came from Quinton Vega in the match up against Michigan State. Despite the comeback win in the second set tiebreaker, Vega couldn’t hang on in the third and final set of the day, giving the Spartans a complete sweep of the singles courts.“We definitely need to get better in pressure situations,” assistant coach Joe Bates said. “One or two points here is the difference and we just have to learn to get those big points under our belt. We can’t worry so much if we are hitting the ball well or feeling it. We just have to be mentally tough because that’s what happened today, they were a bit more mentally tough than us.”last_img

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