The Wisconsin men’s tennis team returned to their winning ways in impressive fashion this weekend, with a pair of victories at Nielsen Tennis Center on Saturday.
In the first match of the day against East Tennessee State (2-3), the Badgers (4-2) pulled off a hard-earned win. The match started off in familiar fashion, with Wisconsin sweeping the doubles matches and capturing the first point of the match.
Head coach Danny Westerman decided to tweak the doubles lineup slightly, opting to split up the ninth-ranked pair of seniors Chema Carranza and Josef Dodridge. Carranza joined freshman Jesper Freimuth, playing in his first match for the Badgers, while Dodridge teamed up with sophomore Daniel Soyfer.
The new pairs provided familiar results, as UW continued its dominance in doubles. Both teams made quick work of their opponents, with Carranza and Freimuth winning 6-2 and Dodridge and Soyfer taking their match at a score of 6-1, giving Wisconsin the doubles point.
The singles side proved to be more difficult, although the Badgers still prevailed in the end. Dodridge followed up his strong doubles performance with a shutout 6-0, 6-0 victory to give the Badgers a 2-0 lead in the match. Wisconsin was struck with some misfortune after that, as senior Lamar Remy fell awkwardly on his left ankle in his match against Juan Lugo. After being up 5-1 in the first set, Remy eventually fell to Lugo 6-7, 3-6, and was clearly hampered by his injury for much of the match. After sophomore Chase Colton lost his match, East Tennessee had evened up the match at a score of 2-2.
In the remaining three singles matches, Wisconsin thwarted East Tennessee’s comeback effort. Soyfer took care of Frazier Rengifo 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, to give the Badgers a 3-2 lead. Freimuth continued his impressive debut by storming back to win his match against Miguel Este. After losing the first set 2-6, Freimuth took the second set 7-6, and then shut out Este in the third set 6-0 to give the Badgers a 4-2 victory.
Head coach Danny Westerman had high praise for the freshman.
“[Freimuth] got the call today and he responded,” Westerman told UWBadgers.com. “He was struggling in the first set of his match but he stayed positive. He saved a couple match points and then he absolutely rolled. I was very proud of him.”
Freimuth’s win ended Carranza’s match against Robert Herrera prematurely, although Carranza looked poised to win at a score of 6-4, 5-7, 5-2. Carranza had lost two match points in the second set, but followed that up with a strong third set before the match was called off.
Coming off of the exhilarating match, the Badgers took on UW-Green Bay (1-2) just a couple hours later. The team displayed a commendable endurance by shutting out the Phoenix 4-0. Another change to the doubles lineup saw Soyfer teaming with senior Darius Mackenzie, making his spring season debut for Wisconsin.
The pair breezed past the Green Bay pair of Felix Triebe and Tony Leto, 6-1. Carranza and Freimuth remained paired together and picked up where they left off from earlier in the day, scoring a 6-3 decision and securing the doubles point yet again, keeping the Badgers perfect in that department for the season.
In singles, Wisconsin quickly ended their in-state rivals’ visit to Madison. The trio of Soyfer, Freimuth, and Chase Colton concluded a great day for UW by scoring decisive victories in their respective matches, giving the team a 4-0 win and a 4-2 record for the season.
After a successful weekend, Wisconsin will head to the west coast next weekend for a pair of matchups. On Friday, they face off against the Oregon Ducks at 6 p.m. CT in Eugene, Oregon. The Badgers will then travel north to take on the Washington Huskies on Sunday at noon in Seattle.