Northwestern men’s tennis picked up its second win in as many attempts this season after knocking off seventh ranked TCU 4-2.
The Wildcats—ranked 13th themselves—avenged a 4-3 loss to the Horned Frogs at TCU from last season. Northwestern won both doubles matchups and eked out enough wins in singles to ensure the victory.
“A lot of us played the same players [as last season],” senior Konrad Zieba said. “We always have high expectations, and we didn’t think of ourselves as underdogs.”
To get the night rolling, Wildcats Zieba and Sam Shropshire defeated Guillermo Nunez and Alex Rybakov 7-5 in the top doubles matchup, and Strong Kirchheimer and Dominik Stary beat Reese Stalder and Jerry Lopez in the No. 2 doubles matchup to secure the doubles point for Northwestern.
The No. 3 doubles match ended early with Northwestern duo Chris Ephron and Michael Lorenzini trailing Cameron Norrie and Gianni Mancini 6-5.
As the singles matches got underway, Jason Seidman got out to an early lead on Gianni Mancini, eventually cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the No. 6 singles matchup.
The Horned Frogs took the top singles match by way of Cameron Norrie, who is currently 266th in the ATP Tour Rankings. He notched an smooth 6-4, 6-2 win over Kirchheimer.
But Shropshire managed to fight back for Northwestern, winning 6-2, 6-3 over Lopez in the third singles match.
The clinching point came from Zieba, who beat Rybakov in the No. 2 singles match after a 7-6 tiebreak victory in the first set and a 6-4 victory in the second.
“It was an unbelievable team win, our guys really stepped up. TCU is one of the best teams in the country. For us it was a great test, and I was pleased to see our guys raise their level,” head coach Arvid Swan said.
With his teammate Stary in a third set against Nunez on the adjacent court, the pressure mounted as Zieba’s second set went on. But Zieba still managed to get a key break of serve and hold on for the win.
“As long as we’re on the court, we feed off of each other’s energy,” Zieba said. “I was just trying to hold serve and stay in the match.”
As for the other Wildcats, Ben Vandixhorn lost to Stalder 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 5 singles match, and Stary’s match ended early after Zieba clinched the win. Nunez was leading 2-1 in the third set after Stary lost the first set 6-3 and won the second 6-4.
Northwestern will be back on the court January 22nd when it hosts Louisville and IUPUI.