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Men’s Tennis: Wildcats secure victories in a trio of weekend matchups

NU’s best tennis is coming just at the right time.

Northwestern men’s tennis hosted three matches last weekend on the purple and green courts of the Combe Tennis Center, dropping a tilt with the Memphis Tigers on Friday while coming back and sweeping a Sunday doubleheader, defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores and the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames.

Red hot Northwestern, who catapulted to 13th in the national rankings following three straight victories, faced immediate adversity after No. 42-ranked Memphis took the doubles point. Three of the five singles matches went three sets, but Memphis eventually claimed the match 4-1.

Sunday would prove to be a better day for the ‘Cats, who prevailed over two formidable squads and the physical demands of a doubleheader. First up, the 71st-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores came out hot, claiming the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 slots. However, led by graduate seniors Ivan Yatsuk and Simen Bratholm, NU would go on to sweep the singles competition and claim the contest 4-1.

After a few hours of rest, Northwestern returned to the courts to face crosstown foe UIC, where it took care of business. The veteran team of Gleb Blekher and Ivan Yatsuk won the crucial deciding doubles set 7-5 to earn the doubles point. The singles contests were not particularly close, with Bratholm, Blekher and Natan Spear all cruising to straight set victories.

The Wildcats — now 12th in the ITA team rankings — are gaining major momentum, doing so at the right time, having won five of their last six matchups before Big Ten play gets going next month. Next, the ‘Cats travel to New York to face Columbia on Friday before a match against Princeton on Sunday.