B1G time weekend for men’s tennis

first_imgKelsey Fenton / The Badger HeraldAfter a 6-1 win against Nebraska this Sunday, the Wisconsin men’s tennis team clinched the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament that is set to get underway this weekend. The Badgers finished the Big Ten regular season with a record of 4-7 in conference. In addition, the team won three of its last four Big Ten match ups, putting them in prime position to make a postseason run.The Badgers traveled to Columbus Wednesday in preparation for their first match at 8 a.m. Central Time on Thursday. Wisconsin will play Purdue, the No. 9 seed, for the chance to challenge the Big Ten’s reigning champions, and No. 1 seeded, Ohio State.Two weeks ago the Boilermakers paid a visit to Wisconsin’s Nielsen Tennis Center and fell to the Badgers 4-3. Purdue started out strong taking two doubles wins and clinching the doubles point. In singles, the Boilermakers grabbed two quick victories at the one and six positions. With the backs against a wall the Badgers pulled out four wins, including three with a set decided by a tiebreak. This win broke Wisconsin’s six-match Big Ten losing streak. “Purdue is a good team,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “Obviously, they will be seeking some revenge, so we will have to be ready right from the start at 9 o’clock [8 a.m. CDT]. We cannot take anything for granted; we know that the margin of error is going to be small. We have to bring our A game.”Despite knowing it will be a close match, the players have a lot of confidence going into the game. The team has been playing its best tennis as of late, and its play has only improved since the 4-3 win against Purdue.“It gives me more confidence going into the game,” freshman Jakhongir Jalalov said. “I know we have already beaten them once. Now we can put pressure on them to beat us because we already know we have the ability to win.”Beating Purdue will still be no easy task as the squad has three wins against ranked opponents this year. Also the Boilermakers are an upperclassman heavy team, providing much needed experience in the Big Ten tournament the young Badgers lack; however, what the Badgers lack in experience, they make up for in confidence.“All we have to do is stay confident, stay positive and believe in ourselves and we can beat Purdue,” freshman Oskar Wikberg said.If Wisconsin’s confidence does pull through and help clinch a victory, the Badgers still have a long road before they can make it to the championship game. The biggest of all these challenges will be their second round match-up against Ohio State.“Right now in our conference, the only team that is really ahead and above everyone else is Ohio State,” Van Emburgh said. “They haven’t lost a match this year in the conference. I think they have only one in the last eight to ten years. They are clearly a very strong team.”The Buckeyes have won six of the last seven Big Ten men’s tennis titles, and are the clear favorite to pick up their seventh in eight years. Ohio State went 11-0 in conference play this year and have only two losses all year, both 4-3 losses to Virginia and Texas A&M.All three of the Buckeye’s doubles duos are ranked in the top 75 in the country. They also boast five ranked singles players out of six, including Peter Kobelt, who is ranked ninth in the country. If the Badgers do get past Purdue, they have the tennis equivalent of a stone wall in front of them.“This will be our best opportunity to beat Ohio State,” Van Emburgh said. “We have really be playing well as of late, and as long as we play confident, loose and aggressive, I think we will be able to stick with them.”After last weekend’s victories the Badgers moved up the rankings to 59th in the nation. This puts them right at the cusp of making the NCAA tournament. A Big Ten tournament run could propel the Badgers into a tournament where anything can happen.last_img

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