LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 28 Texas Tech men's tennis team received a solid effort from the top three spots of its singles lineup and registered a 4-0 sweep over Northwestern during its final tune-up before Big 12 action on Wednesday at the McLeod Tennis Center.
The Red Raiders (17-5) have won all 10 decisions at home with five of those victories coming via the sweep. Texas Tech also moved to 3-0 against Big 10 competition this season after wins over Indiana and then No. 42 Iowa earlier this season.
"You always wonder how things are going to go after taking a little bit of a break, but I thought the guys came out with good energy," Texas Tech head coach Brett Masi said. "They handled the doubles well, and I was really happy with our performance. Overall, the biggest thing is that we expect to play well coming into Big 12 knowing what lies ahead. Every school is Top 25 and most are in the Top 15. We need to start playing the best tennis of the season right now."
The Red Raiders put the pressure on Northwestern (6-10) early in double play when Connor Curry and Ilgiz Valiev captured a 6-0 win over Nick Brookes and Michael Lorenzini on court two.
The Wildcats responded with a 6-1 victory by Antonioni Fasano and Chris Ephron against Tommy Mylnikov and Artem Kapshuk at the bottom of the lineup.
All eyes turned to court one where Jackson Cobb and Alex Sendegeya built an early 3-0 versus No. 56 Ben Vandixhorn and Dominik Stary following an early service break on a double fault.
Northwestern's pair rallied for three consecutive games and wiped away a couple of match points to knot the score at 5-5. However, Cobb and Sendegeya regained the momentum with a service hold at love and snatched the first five points of the tiebreaker. Sendegeya executed a serve-volley play, and the Red Raiders closed out the 7-2 triumph to earn the 1-0 edge.
No. 119 Mylnikov picked up a workmanlike 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Story at the No. 1 positon to extend the Texas Tech advantage to 2-0. He seized the momentum with a three-game run to break a 1-1 tie in set one and dialed up three straight games down 2-1 in the second set to take control.
Sendegeya kept his strong play going with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 decision over Brookes at the No. 2 spot. He dug out of an early hole to force a tiebreaker and raced out to a 4-0 lead. Then, Sendegeya reeled off the last four games of the second set to collect his fifth consecutive victory.
Curry provided the clinching point with a 6-1, 7-6 (6) victory against No. 115 Fasano. During the second set breaker, he erased a 3-0 deficit and closed out the 8-6 win with back-to-back points.
"I don't think that we have won many one though three in singles this year especially against a good team like that," Masi said. "That was nice to see. It also was nice to take some pressure of the guys at four, five and six. We talked about that – those guys need to come out playing well. I was pretty happy with the performance of our upper classmen."
Texas Tech will turn its attention to Big 12 play with a pair of road matches against No. 18 Oklahoma State and No. 17 Oklahoma next weekend.
Visit www.TexasTech.com for the latest news and information on the men's tennis program. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/TechMensTennis and @TexasTechTennis on Twitter.
No. 28 Texas Tech 4, Northwestern 0
March 28, 2018 at Lubbock, Texas (McLeod Tennis Center)
1 – Jackson Cobb/Alex Sendegeya (TTU) defeats No. 56 Ben Vandixhorn/Dominik Stary (NU): 7-6 (7-2)
2 – Connor Curry/Ilgiz Valiev (TTU) defeats Nick Brookes/Michael Lorenzini (NU): 6-0
3 – Antonioni Fasano/Chris Ephron (NU) defeats Tommy Mylnikov/Artem Kapshuk (TTU): 6-1
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1 – No. 119 Tommy Mylnikov (TTU) defeats Dominik Stary (NU): 6-3, 6-4
2 – Alex Sendegeya (TTU) vs. Nick Brookes (NU): 7-6 (2), 6-2
3 – Connor Curry (TTU) defeats No. 115 Antonioni Fasano (NU): 6-1, 7-6 (6)
4 – Ilgiz Valiev (TTU) vs. Ben Vandixhorn (NU): 7-5, 2-6, 3-3, unfinished
5 – Artem Kapshuk (TTU) vs. Jason Seidman (NU): 4-6, 4-4, unfinished
6 – Matheus Leite (TTU) vs. Chris Ephron (NU): 5-7, 6-2, 1-1, unfinished
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
Texas Tech: 17-5; National Ranking: No. 28