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Historic men’s tennis season ends in NCAA Regionals

Historic men’s tennis season ends in NCAA Regionals
(Daily file photo by Daniel Tian)

Northwestern couldn’t shake Stanford on Sunday, losing in the NCAA Regionals 4-3 as it’s historic season came to a close.

All eyes at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center turned to junior Konrad Zieba’s match with Tom Fawcett as the deciding match. Zieba came back from a 5-1 deficit in the first set, winning 7-5, but was shutout in the second set. An intense third set ensued, as Zieba saved multiple match points, but unfortunately for the Wildcats Fawcett prevailed as Stanford advanced.

The match began with NU capturing a dramatic doubles point. After the Cats won at No. 2 doubles and lost at No. 3, it all was up to the team of senior Fedor Baev and junior Strong Kirchheimer. Kirchheimer was broken serving for the set, but the duo managed to break back after winning a marathon point to win the set 7-5. NU had only lost once after winning the doubles point going into the match.

Singles play began poorly for the Cats as the fell behind in a number of matches as Baev and freshman Ben Vandixhorn lost in straight sets to put the team behind 2-1.

The match drew even when junior Strong Kirchheimer continued his domination of No. 3 singles with a 6-0, 6-4 win.

After junior Sam Shropshire won his match, junior Alp Horoz gave up a lead in the second set to fall 6-4, 6-4 and leave the match at 3 points apiece.

Zieba’s singles match was the last to conclude. NU ended arguably their best season ever with a 26-5 record.

Northwestern advances to second round of NCAA Tournament with win over Valparaiso

Northwestern advances to second round of NCAA Tournament with win over Valparaiso
(Daily file photo by Daniel Tian)

Northwestern defeated a feisty Valparaiso team 4-1 Saturday to advance a round of 32 NCAA Tournament matchup with Stanford.

The match began well for NU when it won the doubles point with victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. This has become a trend for the Cats as juniors Konrad Zieba and Sam Shropshire and junior Alp Horoz and senior Mihir Kumar have winning streak of four and six matches, respectively.

NU got off to a strong start in singles when they won 5-of-6 first sets. Shropshire quickly took care of business and won 6-3, 6-2 to give the Cats a 2-0 lead.

Senior Fedor Baev got off to a shaky start in his match, but even after he regained his form in the second set, his opponent’s excellent serving was too much and caused Baev to fall 6-2, 7-5.

After cruising in the first set, Kirchheimer found himself down 5-3 in the second and forced to break serve to avoid a third set. After doing so, he reeled off four straight games to win the match, his 13th in a row.

Two of the three remaining matches went to third sets and freshman Ben Vandixhorn secured the final point with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

On Sunday, the Cats will host No. 29 Stanford with their first berth in the round of 16 since 1997 on the line.

Men’s tennis advances to semifinals of Big Ten Tournament

Men’s tennis advances to semifinals of Big Ten Tournament
(Daily file photo by Leeks Lim)

By Benjy Apelbaum

Northwestern wasted no time during their dominating win in the Big Ten Tournament over Purdue. 

The No. 13 Wildcats earned a first-round bye after earning the No. 2 seed, defeating the Boilermakers 4-1. They improved over their 4-2 win against Purdue just over a month ago. 

The match began similarly to the previous contest with NU taking the doubles point, this time by virtue of a 7-5 win at No. 1 doubles and a 6-4 win at No. 2 doubles. 

Juniors Sam Shropshire and Strong Kirchheimer jumped out to easy wins in singles play, winning their matches by scores of 6-1, 6-2, and 6-1, 6-0, respectively. These matches put the Cats ahead 3-0 overall before senior Fedor Baev lost 5-7, 3-6. 

Alp Horoz then closed out the match with a 6-4, 6-3 win to send NU to the semifinals. All three singles winners Friday also won their matches the last time the Cats faced the Boilermakers. 

NU now will face off against the winner of No. 17 Illinois and Penn State on Saturday. The Cats defeated both teams in their most recent matchups, but were swept by the fighting Illini earlier in the season.