May 8, 2009

Courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics

MADISON, Wis. - The No. 32-ranked Wisconsin men’s tennis team finished the season in a nail biter, losing 4-3 to No. 21 Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Championships in Urbana, Ill. The match unfolded similar to the last time these teams met earlier this season, with the match coming down to the third set of the last match. With the loss, UW finishes the season 16-11, with seven of its losses being decided by one match. For the first time in three years, the Badgers will not advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships.

After rain forced the match indoors, the Badgers started strong by claiming the doubles point, marking the third time this year the Badgers lost after winning the doubles point. At the No. 2 doubles spot, Michael Dierberger and Michael Muskievicz finished off Austen Childs and Sumit-Prakash Gupta, 8-3. The Badger duo won in quick fashion after going up 6-1 before taking the match. It was third doubles that clinched the point thanks to Luke Rassow-Kantor and Patrick Pohlmann. After a 2-2 tie, Pohlmann and Rassow-Kantor went up 4-2 and never looked back, winning 8-5. The No. 26-ranked pair of Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka abandoned their match; they were down 4-6 when it was called.

Louisville tied it up when Alejandro Calligari defeated Patrick Marrack at the No. 4 spot 6-1, 6-3. The Cardinals took the lead after another win at the No. 6 spot. Michael Dierberger fell to Robert Hall 4-6, 3-6.

With Louisville up by one, only Pohlmann and Michalicka won the first set for UW, after Baumann lost in the tiebreaker. At the top singles spot, No. 28 Baumann couldn’t hold on falling in only his second match of the season to No. 29-ranked Austen Childs, 7-6, 7-5.

Wisconsin came back to tie it up with wins at the No. 2 and 5 spots. After winning the first set 6-2, Michalicka battled back after being down 4-1 to force a tiebreaker, but lost the tiebreak 7-3. Michalicka won six straight games against No. 96 Viktor Maksimcuk in the third set to take the match 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-0.

Rassow-Kantor stepped up for the Badgers after losing the first set, battling back to take the last two sets against Andrew Carter. With the win, Rassow-Kantor claimed his sixth win of the season and his first at the No. 5 spot.

With the match tied at 3-3, it came down to the freshman Pohlmann against Simon Childs at the No. 3 singles spot. After Pohlmann took the first set, Childs came back from being down 2-0 to win the second set, 6-4. Pohlmann couldn’t rebound after Childs came out strong in the third and final set, losing 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Baumann and Michalicka will continue on when they play in the NCAA singles championships. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 20-25 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, following the conclusion of the team championship (May 14-19).