Iowa men's tennis falls to No. 43 Drake

BY TOM CLOS | MARCH 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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DES MOINES — The Iowa men's tennis team was shut out by Drake, 7-0, at the Knapp Tennis Center on Wednesday.

Iowa (1-7) entered the action trying to get back into the win column before heading into the Big Ten Conference schedule, but once again faltered in singles and dropped all six matches.

The loss is the Hawkeyes' fifth in a row; Drake improved to 10-1.

Iowa's hottest player, junior Garret Dunn, saw his five-match winning streak come to an end; he fell to Alen Salibasic (6-3, 1-6, 7-6 [7-5]) in the No. 4 spot.

"Winning five in a row doesn't mean anything," the 6-8 Arizonan said. "People are upset about the loss."

Freshman Matt Hagan saw his first action at No. 1 against No. 82 Anis Ghorbel but was defeated (6-2, 7-6 [11-9]) for his fifth-straight loss; he's 1-7 on the season after being largely successful in the fall campaign.

"He's really getting baptism by fire," Houghton said of the freshman's move to the premier slot in the lineup. "It's not ideal, and it remains to be seen if he can be successful there."

Hagan was in the position because Houghton is still searching for a viable No. 1 starter; Will Vasos was 1-3 in the position, and Jonas Dierckx was 0-2

Vasos, playing in the No. 3 spot, lost his seventh-straight match, (2-6, 6-1, 6-3) to Jean Erasmus. He joins Hagan with a 1-7 record with the loss.

Junior Mitch Beckert — seeing his first action since Feb. 3 — lost a first-set tiebreaker and then was steamrolled, 6-0, in the second set by Ben Mullis, dropping the Hawkeye to 0-5 in singles on the season.

"[Mullis] took it to me," Beckert said. "I just didn't have time to adjust."

Sophomores Dierckx and Chase Tomlins were swept in straight sets by James McKie and Robin Goodman, respectively.

The doubles duo of Dunn and sophomore Michael Swank scored an 8-6 upset of No. 31 Salibasic and Cesar Bracho in the No. 1 spot to get the Hawkeyes off to a good start. The Black and Gold pair improved to 4-3 on the season; they have split between the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

But Iowa wasn't able to capitalize on the opportunity and dropped the other two matches — including a heartbreaking 9-8 (7-4) decision by Vasos and Tomlins at No. 3 to Erasmus and Goodman. Dierckx and Hagan lost to Ghorbel and McKie, 8-6.

The Hawkeyes have now lost the doubles point in three-straight matches.

The Black and Gold return to action on March 4 when they open conference play at home against No. 18 Illinois. The meet will start at 2 p.m.

Follow DI men's tennis reporter Tom Clos on Twitter.

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