WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Despite a one and a half hour delay Thursday, the Purdue men’s tennis team made easy work of Nebraska in the first round of the Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament at the Schwartz Tennis Center. The Boilermakers defeated the Cornhuskers 4-1 while hosting the conference event for the sixth time in school history -- the last in 2007.
Mimicking the teams’ conference match earlier this month, which Purdue won 7-0, the Boilermakers picked up back-to-back wins in doubles to clinch the first point. Stephan Koenigsfest and Ricky Medinilla first defeated Micah Klousia and David Samardzijaas 6-2 on court two. Purdue’s Renan Hanayama and Benjamin Ugarte then bested Tomislav Antoljak and Chris Dean by the same score on court three.
In singles, Athell Bennett defeated Jon Meyer 6-0, 6-1 on court six in the first match off, while fellow freshman Koenigsfest clinched the match for the Boilermakers on court four with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Antoljak.
Purdue senior Ugarte also defeated Klousia 6-2, 6-2 on court three, but upperclassman Medinilla fell to Nebraska on court two in the team’s only loss. In the regular season, the senior defeated Toby Boyer 6-1, 6-4; however, the Cornhusker bested him 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of the tournament.
“Weather-wise it was a tough match,” Purdue head coach Pawel Gajdzik said. “It was cold, late and a bit of a delayed start, but I think that our guys did a good job keeping their composure by getting the doubles point. They controlled every match in singles as well with the exception of one. A 20-win season is great, but we now need to regroup and prepare for Friday.”
The Boilermakers are slated to face No. 25 Illinois in the second round of the tournament with first serve scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET -- weather permitting.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting match,” Gajdzik said. “It’s two even teams, and I think every player is competing much better at the end of the season than when we first met at the beginning of the year. It’s the postseason and the match is up for grabs. The better team is going to win tomorrow because of execution.”
Last time out, unranked Purdue defeated the 23-ranked Fighting Illini 4-3 at home, with Bennett clinching the match on court six.