The Wisconsin men’s tennis team (2-2) struggled in their first weekend series away from home, as they dropped both of their matches. In their opening match of the ITA Kick-Off tournament in Stillwater, Okla., to 13th-ranked Mississippi State, UW fell 4-1. It was a tough start to the tournament for the Badgers, as they faced a nationally-ranked Bulldogs team that boasts four singles players ranked in the preseason top-125 rankings, including third-ranked Nuno Borges.
Wisconsin won the doubles point early on, as junior Osgar O’Hoisin and sophomore Daniel Soyfer dispatched 41st-ranked Florian Broska and Giovanni Oradini 6-3, and ninth-ranked Chema Carranza and Josef Dodridge continued their strong play, defeating 49th-ranked Niclas Braun and Trevor Foshey 6-2. The senior duo reached the semifinals of the ITA Fall National Championships in November and were also the first pair in UW history to win the ITA Regional Doubles Championship, so they will surely look to pick up where they left off in the new year.
The singles side, however, went much less smoothly for the Badgers. Third-ranked Borges made quick work of senior Lamar Remy, 6-2 6-1, and 29th-ranked Oradini beat Carranza 6-2 7-5. O’Hoisin also dropped his match to 118th-ranked Braun 6-1 6-4, and Broska topped Chase Colton 6-3 6-4. The Bulldogs advanced to take on 14th-ranked Oklahoma State for a spot in the ITA Indoor National Championships while the Badgers faced Kentucky in the consolation match.
The Badgers looked to bounce back in the consolation round when they took on Kentucky. Unfortunately the match followed a similar pattern as the one on the day prior, with the Badgers falling by an identical score of 4-1. Just as was the case against Mississippi State, the Badgers’ lone point of the match came from their victory in doubles. They weren’t able to carry that success over to singles, however, where they were defeated 4-0.
The bright spot of the young season for Wisconsin continued to shine, as the Badgers took care of business on the doubles side. The ninth-ranked duo of Carranza and Dodridge scored a 6-3 victory in the No.1 doubles spot. The pair of Soyfer and O’Hoisin also won their match 6-3, ensuring the Badgers would capture the doubles point. The Badgers have yet to lose a doubles match so far this season.
UW faced a tough matchup on the singles side, though, with the Wildcats’ lineup featuring three ranked players. The Badgers didn’t go down without a fight however. Dodridge followed up his strong performance in doubles with a valiant effort against No. 77 ranked Trey Yates, with the closely contested match ending prematurely at a score of 6-4, 5-5.
After facing two premier programs to begin the season, the Badgers were given a good test and a chance to evaluate their team at the beginning of the season.
“We gave ourselves opportunities to compete by winning doubles both days but unfortunately we couldn’t convert on some chances we had in singles. We played against some very good programs and the experience here will certainly help us prepare for the next time we play,” head coach Danny Westerman told UWBadgers.com
The Badgers return to the courts on Saturday, when they face East Tennessee State and Green Bay in a doubleheader at Nielsen Tennis Center. They will take on East Tennessee State at 1 p.m. followed by Green Bay at 6 p.m.