WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In the last match of the second round, the Purdue men's tennis team was defeated 4-1 by boarder-rival Illinois, ending its run in the 2017 Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament. The Boilermakers are hosting the conference event for the sixth time in program history and second at the Schwartz Tennis Center -- the last in 2007.
Purdue opened competition with two-straight doubles wins, giving the team an early 1-0 lead over the Fighting Illini. Stephan Koenigsfest and Ricky Medinilla first defeated Vuk Budic and Aleks Vukic 6-4 on court two, and Renan Hanayama and Benjamin Ugarte bested Gui Gomes and Aron Hiltzik by the same mark on court three.
The same two pairings also clinched the doubles point for the Boilermakers in Thursday's first round match against Nebraska; however, singles ended rather differently for Purdue on Friday. Illinois swept the host team in four straight matches, clinching the victory at 4-1.
Medinilla fell first on court two, losing 6-2, 6-3 to Hiltzik, and Gergely Madarasz followed with a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Vukic on court one.
On court five, Hanayama was bested 6-4, 6-2 by Zeke Clark, before his double's partner stumbled on court three in the deciding match. After battling back to five all in the second, Ugarte was defeated in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 by Aleks Kovacevic.
"At the end, things didn't go our way," head coach Pawel Gajdzik said. "We lost, but I am very proud of this team. They played hard and won the doubles point, then came out really strong in the singles. At a few important moments in the match things didn't go our way, and Illinois was able to turn the final outcome its way. Overall, though, what these guys have done this season is amazing, and we're eager to compete in the NCAA tournament."
Currently ranked No. 35, Purdue shouldn't move much when the NCAA announces the official 64 tournament seeds Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET. For the selection show, the men's tennis team is hosting a watch party at the John R. Wooden Club located in Mackey Arena. All Purdue fans are encouraged to attend or tune into the team's Facebook live stream.