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Tennis drops close match

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

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The sunny skies, 60-degree weather, and minimal wind made it a beautiful day to watch a tennis match, with the Iowa men’s tennis team playing outdoors for the first time this season. The Hawkeyes hosted No. 69 Indiana on Sunday at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex, dropping its second home match of the season in a 4-3 decision.

Match play opened with another close battle for the doubles point. The No. 1 duo of seniors Michael Swank and Brian Alden fell, 8-4, while the No. 2 team of junior Matt Hagan and Jonas Dierckx won, 8-3, to keep Iowa viable for the doubles point. The doubles point was determined at the No. 3 position, featuring Iowa seniors Chase Tomlins and Joey White. The pair ultimately dropped their match in an 8-7 (7-3) decision to Chris Essick and Stefan Lugonjic of Indiana. The duo from Indiana rallied from a three-game deficit to secure the doubles point.

“They definitely stepped up their game,” Tomlins said. “They played a lot more loose early on and missed a lot of volleys, and toward the end, they made pretty much every volley and return, which just put a lot of pressure on us to make plays, and we didn’t.”

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The Hawkeyes rebounded slightly, tying the Hoosiers 3-3 in singles play. Iowa was off to a rough start with seniors Brian Alden and Juan Estenssoro dropping the first two matches (6-4, 6-3) and (6-0, 6-4) at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. The Hawkeyes received wins from senior Michael Swank (2-6, 6-0, 6-3) at No. 6, sophomore Dominic Patrick (7-6 [7-3], 4-6, 1-0 (10-7) at the No. 5 spot, and senior Jonas Dierckx, who finished the meet strong with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4) win over Sven Lalic of Indiana at the No. 1 position.

“I was particularly happy for Jonas, who essentially was a double winner on both singles and doubles,” head coach Steve Houghton said. “And that guy, from a pure attitude standpoint, deserves to beat a really good Big Ten player.”

“It was tough battle,” Dierckx said. “The guy had a similar game to mine, so we had a lot of long rallies. What really helped me was getting off to a good start in the beginning of the match and to win the first set. In the second set, it was a lot tougher, since he barely made mistakes and put a lot of pressure on me.”

Cloud cover crept over the sunny skies and the match of Dierckx and Lalic — nearing the three-hour mark at this point — was postponed at the start of the third set and moved indoors because rain.

“It was difficult to adjust from outdoors to indoors since the match was so close,” Dierckx said. “But I’m glad I was able to get used to it quickly and close it out in the tiebreaker. My wins in doubles and singles will give me a lot of confidence going into Wednesday’s match against Nebraska.”


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