April 19, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Men’s tennis will be back in action for the final time at the Schwartz Tennis Center this season as it hosts No. 44 Northwestern on Friday. The Boilermakers will also travel to No. 20 Illinois on Sunday for their final regular season match.
Purdue (10-13, 2-7 Big Ten) had a tough match with No. 3 Ohio State on Wednesday. Though the Boilers lost 7-0, the team had some solid matches, especially in the second sets. Mark Kovacs went up against the nation’s No. 6 overall singles player in Blaz Rola. Kovacs battled through the first set and fell, 6-3. In the second, the Purdue sophomore forced a tiebreaker at 6-6 and had a 5-5 tie on serve. From there, Kovacs had a pair of shots just miss grazing the line by mere inches to fall in the second set, 7-6 (5).
Northwestern (13-8, 6-3 Big Ten) is led by its top singles player Spencer Wolf. He currently has the nation’s No. 124 singles ranking. He and Josh Graves also make up the 72nd best doubles tandem in the country. The Wildcats have been playing pretty strong as of late despite losing two of its last three. Those losses came against Ohio State and Michigan, both top 30 teams. Even with those two losses, the Wildcats have won six of their last eight matches.
Illinois (13-6, 7-2 Big Ten) has the nation’s No. 20 doubles pair in the country with Roy Kalmanovich and Dennis Nevolo. Nevolo is also the nation’s No. 7 singles player while Kalmanovich is ranked No. 30. The Illini have had similar fate as Northwestern recently. While they have dropped two of their last three and three of five, those matches were against all top 30 opponents including two in the top six. Prior to that stretch, Illinois had won six in a row. The Illini will play Indiana before hosting Purdue.
The Boilermakers and Wildcats will meet for the 85th time on the courts. Northwestern holds the edge, 62-20-2, though the Boilermakers have won the last two matches in the series and three of the last four. Purdue and Illinois will meet for the 94th time ever. The Fighting Illini lead the series 82-10-1 and have won nine in a row.
The Boilermakers and Wildcats will play at 2 p.m. ET at the Schwartz tennis center on Friday. Sunday, Purdue and Illinois will play at 1 p.m. ET at Illinois. Live results will be available for Friday’s match at PurdueSports.com.