May 15, 2010

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin is advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history after thumping No. 13 Illinois, 4-1, Saturday afternoon in Urbana, Ill. Wisconsin (21-8) had a total team effort with seniors Moritz Baumann and Michael Dierberger leading the way. Baumann clinched the match for Wisconsin earning his 30th win of the season.

"All year our goal has been to make it to the Sweet Sixteen," said head coach Greg Van Emburgh. "The biggest thing I have been telling the team this year is to have belief and desire. This is a great close-knit group and to come to Illinois and beat them at home, I'm speechless at what an accomplishment this is for our players and the program."

The match, which was moved indoors after a two and a half hour rain delay, was all Wisconsin, as the Badgers knocked off the Illini after dropping a 4-3 decision during the Big Ten season.

The No. 15-ranked duo of Baumann and Marek Michalicka won its second straight doubles match over a ranked opponent after breaking No. 69 Marek Czerwinski and Abe Souza to go up 3-1. The duo never looked back taking the 8-6 victory.

Billy Bertha and Chris Freeman went game-for-game with Connor Roth and Stephen Hoh before breaking away from a 4-4 stand, winning the next four games to clinch the doubles point. Patrick Pohlmann and Dierberger were knotted at 6-6 at the No. 2 spot before the match was retired.

Heading into singles play, the Badgers kept the momentum winning the first set in five of the six positions. Michalicka got things rolling when he went up 4-2 in the first set dropping only two more games on his way to victory. Michalicka knocked off No. 47 Dennis Nevolo in a decisive 6-3, 6-1 match to give the Badgers the 2-1 advantage.

Dierberger picked up UW's second straight-set victory with an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory at the No. 6 spot. Wisconsin gave up its first point when Freeman dropped his match at the No. 4 position against Johnny Hamui to make the score 3-1.

With only one match away from victory, Bertha and Pohlmann each went to a third set after winning the first set in their respective positions while Baumann battled in the second set to clinch the match for Wisconsin.

Baumann came back and pulled out the win at the top position to send Wisconsin to its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.

"I'm so proud of the team, they played with so much heart and desire," said Van Emburgh. "To come here and play two teams that we had lost to earlier this season and play fearless like they did, this was a great win for us."

The round of 16 match-up will be another Big Ten showdown with the winner of the Michigan/Ohio State match which will be played Sunday, May 16. Wisconsin will meet the winner of tomorrows match on Friday May 25. The match is scheduled for 8 a.m. CT at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.