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Singles lineup is set for Hawkeye men's tennis

BY DOMINICK WHITE | APRIL 05, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis team will compete against the No. 69 Indiana in Bloomington, Ind., today at noon. Its road trip will continue when the Black and Gold faces the No. 63 Purdue on April 7 at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette.

Iowa head coach Steve Houghton has swapped players in and out of his singles lineup over the past month. Recently, though, it appears that the Hawkeye coach has decided on his top six singles players.

Sophomore Matt Hagan was Iowa’s top singles player when the season started. He injured his knee before spring break, and that has affected his mobility. His lingering knee problems and limited mobility forced Houghton to move him down in the lineup. The Omaha native’s condition is improving week by week.

“There’s no swelling in my knee, and it is getting a lot better,” Hagan said. “I was diagnosed with a knee strain, and it’s taken three weeks to get over. So I’ve been wearing a protective brace when I play to take pressure off the knee and to keep it in place.”

Jonas Dierckx took over the No. 1 singles position for Hagan over spring break against the University of Pacific.

“I was pretty nervous for my first match at the No. 1 singles position,” Dierckx said. “It was pretty difficult. People make fewer mistakes and hit more difficult shots at the No. 1 position, so it makes the match longer.”

Dierckx has settled into his new role with the men’s tennis team nicely. The Lommel, Belgium, native beat Fresno State’s Reid DeLaubenfels and Penn State’s Bryan Welnetz at the No. 1 singles spot. Overall, Dierckx is 2-3 playing at the top slot, and he’s impressed his coaches and teammates while doing so.

“Jonas has clearly established himself as the top player on our team,” Houghton said. “He’ll be our No. 1 singles player for the rest of the year.”

Houghton is using a three-man rotation among Garret Dunn, Juan Estenssoro, and Hagan at the 2 through 4 singles positions. Each player’s position in the lineup is determined by how well they match up with the opposing team’s players.

Iowa’s Dominic Patrick and Andres Estenssoro have been holding down the 5 and 6 positions, respectively. The pair has contributed five singles victories from the back of the lineup since March 21.

“Those two guys have established their spots in the lineup,” Houghton said. “We’re pretty close to having a set lineup for singles play.”


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