Feb. 5, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Northwestern freshman Sidarth Balaji posted a two-set upset of 71st-ranked Vijay Paul at No. 2 singles, but that was the only victory the 38th-ranked Wildcats could muster in a 6-1 dual loss at No. 48 Vanderbilt Friday afternoon. Balaji improved to 4-3 in dual match competition in his rookie campaign.
With the setback, Northwestern moves to 4-3 on the young season while Vanderbilt improved to 5-2. The 'Cats now set their sights on their next match, a meeting with No. 75 Western Michigan at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston.
Balaji teamed with Eric Spector at No. 3 doubles where the tandem lost an 8-3 decision to the 57th-ranked pairing of Vijay Paul and Bryant Salcedo. After the Commodores were able to rally from down 4-1 to secure the doubles point with an 8-6 win at No. 1, the attention shifted to the second position where Tobias Reitz and Spencer Wolf were locked in a tight match with Ryan Lipman and Charlie Jones.
The Wildcat duo looked poised to come away with a win leading 6-3 before Vanderbilt staged a brilliant comeback. In the end, however, Lipman and Jones locked up a Vandy doubles sweep when they squeaked out the tiebreaker, 7-5, to win the match 9-8.
As was the case earlier in the week, NU was without the services of its usual No. 2 singles player, Andrew McCarthy, because of injury. But Balaji stepped up and got his revenge from doubles against Paul on the singles courts, winning 6-4, 6-4 to cut Northwestern's deficit to 2-1. Vanderbilt's third point came courtesy of Bryant Salcedo at No. 3, who knocked off Sanborn in two sets, 6-3, 6-2.
At the No. 1 position, Graves jumped ahead of the freshman Lipman early, leading 4-1 in the first set. But Lipman stormed back to win the ensuing five games and would go on to close out the match with a repeat 6-4 performance in the second.
Despite the match already being clinched, the Wildcats continued to battle at the No. 4 and 6 positions as each NU player took his match into three sets. Playing his first singles dual match of the season, Reitz worked hard to defeat Zotov 6-3 in the second set before losing a tight super tiebreaker, 10-5.
Complete results from Friday's match are below:
No. 48 Vanderbilt 6, No. 38 Northwestern 1
1: #29 Ryan Lipman (VU) def. Joshua Graves (NU), 6-4, 6-4
2: Sidarth Balaji (NU) def. #71 Vijay Paul (VU), 6-4, 6-4
3: Bryant Salcedo (VU) def. Alex Sanborn (NU), 6-3, 6-2
4: #53 Charlie Jones (VU) def. Spencer Wolf (NU), 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
5: Adam Baker (VU) def. Mark Schanerman (NU), 6-1, 6-2
6: Alex Zotov (VU) def. Tobias Reitz (NU), 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-5)
1: Baker/Zotov (VU) def. Graves/Sanborn (NU), 8-6
2: Jones/Lipman (VU) def. Reitz/Wolf (NU), 9-8 (5)
3: #57 Paul/Salcedo (VU) def. Spector/Balaji (NU), 8-3
Order of Finish
Singles: (5, 2, 3, 1*, 4, 6)
Doubles: (3, 1*, 2)