The Wisconsin men’s tennis team lost a pair of road matches this weekend against No. 5 Ohio State and Penn State, to extend their losing streak to seven. With the defeats, the Badgers fell to 10-9 (1-6 Big Ten) on the season. They last won March 16, a 4-3 victory over South Florida at home.
Wisconsin began the season in impressive fashion. Following a thrilling 4-3 victory over Minnesota in their Big Ten opener, the Badgers achieved a No. 59 ranking for the week of February 26 and would play their way to a 10-2 start to the year. However, the gauntlet portion of the schedule, which took the team on the road against a slew of ranked opponents, would put a damper on their impressive start.
The Badgers faced off against national powerhouse Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, Friday evening. Entering play, the Buckeyes had won 163 consecutive home matches. Ohio State’s habit of steamrolling its opponents continued as they blanked the Badgers, 7-0.
While UW would not win a set in any of the six singles matches nor capture any of the three doubles matches, freshman Alexander Kokorev and junior Petr Satral put up a fight at No. 1 doubles, ultimately losing 8-6 to the No. 13 doubles pair in the nation, Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith. As singles action kicked off, Satral competed heartily against the No. 4 nationally ranked Kobelt but fell 6-3, 6-4. The win improved Ohio State to 22-2 this season.
Sunday afternoon, the Badgers traveled to University Park, Penn., to take on Penn State. The Nittany Lions have experienced an up-and-down year that has seen them ranked as high as No. 69 in the nation, but entered the match with a mediocre 7-12 record. This was a prime opportunity for Wisconsin to rebound with a win against a solid but slumping Penn State squad. However, the Badgers dropped a 4-2 decision.
Despite winning the doubles point, Wisconsin could only salvage one victory at singles. Freshman Frederik Strabo defeated Ramy Labna at No. 6, winning 6-3, 6-0. When the Nittany Lions secured the victory with their fourth point of the match, the No. 4 match between freshman Jakhongir Jalalov and Roman Trkulja was called in the third set.
The Badgers return home to Nielsen Tennis Stadium next weekend looking to regain control of their season. Friday at 6:00 p.m., Wisconsin will take on Purdue, and Sunday at 1:00 p.m., the Badgers will play Indiana.
UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.