March 26, 2009
The Purdue men's tennis team returns to conference competition Saturday by traveling to Bloomington, Ind., to take on No. 45 Indiana.
"We are focused on playing with no fear of failure," head coach Tim Madden said. "Our preparations have been to expect to make mistakes, but make the right mistakes. Practices have placed an emphasis on playing loose and feeling free to go for it. Indiana has done this very well this season and earned a solid ranking with some key wins. Our decisive win over Indiana State shows we can play loose and with confidence at the same time. That is exactly what it will take to get the win over IU."
Purdue (6-9, 0-3) ended a two-match losing streak Tuesday by beating Indiana State 7-0. The Boilermakers swept through the Sycamores by winning all three doubles matches and all six singles matches without dropping a set.
Junior Branko Kuzmanovic enters Saturday's match having won his last three singles competitions. The Novi Sad, Serbia, native played at No. 1 singles for the first time this season against Indiana State and picked up a 7-5, 6-2 victory. Kuzmanovic also has put together an 8-6 record with doubles partner P.J. Rose. The duo played at No. 1 for the first time Tuesday and won 8-5. Rose, a senior from Highland, Ill., ranks second on the team with nine singles victories this season.
Junior Slavko Bijelica leads Purdue with his 10-4 record in singles play. Bijelica has played at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles during every match in which he has appeared in 2009. Senior Griff Nienberg, the other half of Purdue's No. 1 doubles team, improved to 4-4 in singles play this season with his victory Tuesday.
Sophomore Eric Ramos is third on the team with eight singles victories. The Alameda, Calif., native combined with freshman Thomas Wilson to pick up a victory at No. 3 doubles against Indiana State as the tandem improved its record to 4-1 in 2009.
Freshmen Roberto Cabrini
and Jan-Frans Engelbrecht
help round out Purdue's singles lineup. With Bijelica sitting out against Indiana State, Cabrini made his collegiate doubles debut by teaming with Nienberg. The team played at the No. 2 position and earned an 8-2 win. Engelbrecht won his Purdue debut on March 13th and enters Saturday's match with a 2-1 record in 2009.
Indiana (10-8, 2-0) is coming off a 6-1 loss at No. 19 Louisville Wednesday. The Hoosiers are led in singles wins by freshman Will Kendall, who has gained 11 wins against six losses in dual matches this season. Sophomores Lachlan Ferguson and Santiago Gruter, respectively, are Indiana's No. 1 and No. 2 singles players. Ferguson is 9-7 this season from the No. 1 position, while Gruter is 10-7 overall and 9-7 from the No. 2 spot.
Indiana defeated Purdue 6-1 last season in West Lafayette. Saturday's match begins at noon ET from the Indiana University Tennis Center. Live results will be available at purduesports.com.