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    Wildcats Rally For Dramatic 4-3 Win Over Hokies

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Sidarth Balaji was a winner in both singles and doubles.
    Sidarth Balaji was a winner in both singles and doubles.

    Jan. 25, 2013

    Site: Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
    Score: No. 37 Northwestern 4, No. 43 Virginia Tech 3
    Records: NU (6-0), Virginia Tech (2-1)
    Next NU Event: Saturday, Jan. 26 -- at No. 5 Duke (Durham, N.C.), 5 p.m. CT

    DURHAM, N.C. -- No. 37 Northwestern continued to show its mettle in tight matches Friday afternoon as the Wildcats rallied back to take down No. 43 Virginia Tech 4-3 in an opening round matchup in the ITA Indoor Tennis Championship.

    Three days after posting a narrow 4-3 victory at No. 30 Notre Dame, NU earned tight victories at Nos. 5 and 6 singles to advance to a meeting with host and fifth-ranked Duke -- a 7-0 winner over No. 46 Middle Tennessee State -- on Saturday.

    Northwestern surged in front by capturing the doubles point thanks to victories at Nos. 2 and 3. The duo of Sidarth Balaji and Raleigh Smith took down Hunter Koontz and Lucas Oliveira 8-5 at No. 2 before Alex Pasareanu and Mihir Kumar edged Mauricio Antun and Trpimir Kujundzic 8-6 at No. 3.

    Each of the top three singles matches finished in two sets as the Hokies got wins from No. 29 Andreas Bjerrehus at No. 1 and No. 56 Amerigo Contini at No. 2, but a 6-4, 7-6 win by Balaji at No. 3 left the match tied 2-2.

    A victory by Virginia Tech at No. 4 left it up to Chris Jackman at No. 5 and Fedor Baev at No. 6 for the Wildcats to try to pull out the win.

    Jackman took the first set from Antun 6-2 before dropping the second 6-4. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Week found himself down a break late in the third set, but he rallied back to post a 7-6 win.



    That meant it was up to the No. 6 spot to determine the match. In a evenly matched affair, Kujundzic took the opening set 7-6 in a tiebreaker before Baev evened things up with a 7-5 win in the second set. The set appeared headed for a decisive tiebreaker with the players on serve and Baev leading 6-5, but the freshman broke Kujundzic to give Northwestern the dramatic win.

    The winner of Saturday's match between Northwestern and Duke advances to the main draw of the ITA Indoor Team Championship in Seattle, Wash., beginning Feb. 15.

    No. 37 Northwestern vs. No. 43 Virginia Tech
    No. 1: No. 15 Andreas Bjerrehus / Amerigo Contini (VT) led Fedor Baev /Spencer Wolf (NU) 7-5 (abandoned)
    No. 2: Sidarth Balaji / Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Hunter Koontz / Lucas Oliveira (VT) 8-5
    No. 3: Alex Pasareanu / Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Mauricio Antun / Trpimir Kujundzic (VT) 8-6
    Order of Finish: 3, 2*

    No. 1: No. 29 Andreas Bjerrehus (VT) def. Spencer Wolf (NU) 7-5, 6-4
    No. 2: No. 56 Amerigo Contini (VT) def. No. 108 Raleigh Smith (NU) 6-3, 6-2
    No. 3: Sidarth Balaji (NU) def. Hunter Koontz (VT) 6-4, 7-6
    No. 4: Lucas Oliveira (VT) def. Alex Pasareanu (NU) 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
    No. 5: Chris Jackman (NU) def. Mauricio Antun (VT) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 No. 6: Fedor Baev (NU) def. Trpimir Kujundzic (VT) 6-7, 7-5, 7-5
    Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, 6*


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