Tennis team looks to break Big Ten gridlock

first_imgBaumann and the No. 29 tennis team will look to gain ground in Big Ten play.[/media-credit]The No. 29 University of Wisconsin men’s tennis team will look to continue its outstanding play at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in the final two home matches of the season.The Badgers are coming off a 7-0 sweep of Purdue and find themselves in the middle of a five-way tie for fourth place in the Big Ten standings. With four matches left before the Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers are looking to add two more wins this weekend against conference foes Iowa and Minnesota.Iowa comes in ranked No. 58 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll and is one of five teams tied with UW at 3-3 in conference play. They are also coming off an impressive win at home against Indiana.Minnesota checks in at No. 33 in the latest rankings and brings a dangerous team to town. The Golden Gophers arrive after narrowly falling 3-4 to Big Ten-leader Illinois. The conference rivals seem ready for an upset, but head coach Greg Van Emburgh is confident the Badgers can pull through.“I think we match up great overall. The great thing about us is we’ve got guys that can play really, really well down below, and we have great players up at top that can beat probably any team in the country,” Van Emburgh said.The key to the weekend matches will be getting off to a swift start in doubles play. The No. 1 doubles team of Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka are currently No. 15 in the ITA rankings and seem to be playing their best tennis of the season. They have seven wins against ranked opponents, including one against the top-ranked doubles team of Cory Parr and Steven Forman of Wake Forest. Van Emburgh stressed to his team the importance of their doubles play this weekend.“It’s important for us to get a good start in the doubles; it’s been a key factor for a lot of our matches,” Van Emburgh said. “We weren’t able to really do that against Northwestern, and I think that really might of held us back on the road a little bit. We’re really looking to get off to a fast start in the doubles.”The Badgers will hope to continue some torrid play in Madison. In the last two seasons they have lost a single match at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium — a 3-4 heartbreaker to Louisville back in February. The Badgers will be reluctant to finish up their final home matches of the season at the Nielsen Stadium, where they went 11-0 last season. Van Emburgh isn’t quite sure what is cooking up all this success but doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.“You know the guy’s really enjoy playing at home,” Van Emburgh said. “I think they feel real comfortable here, and I guess that’s been the recipe for success. I’m not quite sure why, but hopefully it will carry over into this weekend.”In addition, the Badgers will look to build momentum and gain some valuable experience heading into the upcoming Big Ten and NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin currently holds only one senior on the roster and, in order to make a run in the tournaments, they will have to rely heavily on Baumann. The junior is ranked No. 31 in singles by the ITA and forms a lethal combination with Michalicka at doubles.“You want to play your best tennis at the end of the season, feel comfortable on the court and to go into the NCAA and Big Ten tournaments with a good feeling and a lot of confidence,” Baumann said.So, what’s the one thing that Baumann has to work on to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament?“Rest,” Baumann said. “We’ve played a lot of matches this season.”last_img

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