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Men’s Tennis: Wildcats split weekend doubleheader to open Big Ten play

An encouraging start.

FloSports: FloTennis Men’s Midwest Regional Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern men’s tennis kicked off its Big Ten schedule at home over the weekend with a loss to No. 9 Ohio State and a win over Penn State. The 25th-ranked Wildcats got swept by the Buckeyes in a Friday night match that was much closer than the final score indicates. It was a different story on Sunday, however, as the ‘Cats left no doubt in their 6-1 demolition of the Nittany Lions.

In the first match, Northwestern doubles pairing Simen Bratholm and Nick Brookes won their set against an Ohio State duo ranked fourth in the nation. The Buckeyes, however, won the remaining two doubles matches to claim the doubles point.

Graduate student Dominik Stary filled Northwestern’s first singles spot for both matches. He battled OSU’s Cannon Kingsly, the country’s fifth-ranked player, fighting hard despite a 6-1, 6-4 defeat. Stary won his match against Christian Lakoseljac of Penn State 7-5, 6-2.

First-year Presley Thieneman stepped up for the ‘Cats in the sixth singles spot against PSU. The highly touted propect out of Carmel, Indiana, cruised to a straight sets victory in his first ever Big Ten start. Bratholm, coming off a strong doubles performance in which he and Nick Brookes defeated OSU 6-4, handily defeated Penn State’s Tim Ruetzel 6-4, 6-2.

Northwestern picked up the doubles point against Penn State thanks to the pairings of Chris Ephron/Dominik Stary and Gleb Blekher/Natan Spear.

The start of the season provides encouragement to a team hoping to build on momentum from a season in which it went 10-6 overall before the pandemic cut things short. The ‘Cats return eight upperclassmen from last year’s squad and bring in a crop of talented freshman. They’ll continue their competitive Big Ten schedule with a weekend full of travel to Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Full match results are below.

Northwestern v. Ohio State

Singles

1. Cannon Kingsley (OSU) def. Dominik Stary (NUM) 6-1, 6-4

2. John McNally (OSU) def. Nick Brookes (NUM) 6-2, 6-3

3. Chris Ephron (NUM) vs. James Trotter (OSU) 3-6, 2-2, unfinished

4. Trice Pickens (NUM) vs. Kyle Seelig (OSU) 2-6, 2-3, unfinished

5. JJ Tracy (OSU) def. Simen Bratholm (NUM) 6-0, 6-1

6. Gleb Blekher (NUM) vs. Robert Cash (OSU) 4-6, 2-1, unfinished

Doubles

1. Simen Bratholm/Nick Brookes (NUM) def. Robert Cash/John McNally (OSU) 6-4

2. James Trotter/Justin Boulais (OSU) def. Dominik Stary/Chris Ephron (NUM) 6-3

3. Cannon Kingsley/Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Gleb Blekher/Natan Spear (NUM) 6-3

Northwestern v. Penn State

Singles

1. Dominik Stary (NU) def. Christian Lakoseljac (PSU) 7-6, 5-2

2. Nick Brookes (NU) def. Bora Sengul (PSU) 5-7, 7-6, 11-9

3. Chris Ephron (NU) def. Charl Morgan (PSU) 6-2, 6-4

4. Miko Eala (PSU) def. Trice Pickens (NU) 3-6, 6-3, 10-8

5. Simen Bratholm (NU) def. Tim Ruetzel (PSU) 6-4, 6-2

6. Presley Thieneman (NU) def. Chikaya Sato (PSU) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles

1. Nick Brookes/Simen Bratholm (NU) vs. Tim Ruetzel/Charl Morgan (PSU) 4-5, unfinished

2. Chris Ephron/Dominik Stary (NU) def. Alp Sentay/Bora Sengul (PSU) 6-4

3. Gleb Blekher/Natan Spear (NU) def. Christian Lakoseljac/Miko Eala (PSU) 6-2