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Hawkeye men's tennis set to take on Bradley

BY JORDAN BUCHER | MARCH 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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The No. 58 Iowa men’s tennis team will host Bradley at 3 p.m. today in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.

Heading into the dual against Bradley, Iowa is coming off a pair of sweeps.

On Feb. 28, the Hawkeyes hosted their second double-header of the season against North Dakota and Creighton. Iowa swept both teams, 7-0, to improve to 7-2 overall. Iowa cruised to the doubles point with an 8-4 win at the No. 1 position and an 8-3 win at No. 2.

North Dakota sent only five players to the match, allowing the Hawkeyes to win by default at the No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles positions. In singles,  senior Jonas Dierckx and freshman Nils Hallestrand recorded 6-0, 6-0 victories at the No. 2 and No. 5 spots.

The Hawkeyes returned to the courts to take on Creighton in the afternoon in what became a battle for the doubles point. The duo of seniors Juan Estenssoro and Dierckx dropped their first match as a doubles team this season, 8-4.

“I have to give credit to the guys [we played]. They made a lot of first serves and returns,” Dierckx said. “We weren’t really ready for it and didn’t play well. Our biggest problem was that didn’t really get a feel for the ball, didn’t make a lot of returns or plays in return.”

“Jonas and I, we have been playing well together in doubles,” Estenssoro said. “We have good communication and connection on the court. It will be very important for us to return the serves very well in order to win in the match against Bradley. I think that will be the key to the victory for us in doubles.”

Bradley will enter the dual with a 2-7 record overall, including its most recent 4-3 loss to Illinois-Chicago on March 1. The Braves registered singles wins at the No. 2, 3, and 5 spots after dropping the doubles point. It came down to the No. 4 singles match, with Illinois-Chicago prevailing, 7-4, in the third-set tiebreaker to claim the victory.

“Well, Bradley is a good team. Last year, it was a very-difficult-to-beat team. We won 5-2,” Estenssoro said. “I feel this year, the whole team is playing better, but even though I feel we are stronger on paper than Bradley, we have to be ready to compete and earn the victory.”

Hamish Weerasinghe and Arthur Romanet play at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions for Bradley. Weerasinghe pairs with Nico Rakitin in the No. 1 doubles position.

“We really want to finish the first segment of our season strong against Bradley,” said head coach Steve Houghton, who is in his 33rd year at the helm. “We have done a good job taking care of these sorts of teams so far and want to continue that.

“The guys need to stay focused on the task and continue to play the way they should play heading into our spring-break trip.”


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