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    No. 33 Wildcats Sweep Doubleheader Versus MTSU and UIC

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Mihir Kumar was the first Wildcat to post a win - 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4 - in the nightcap versus Illinois-Chicago.
    Mihir Kumar was the first Wildcat to post a win - 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4 - in the nightcap versus Illinois-Chicago.

    Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
    Score: Northwestern 4, Middle Tennessee State 3
    Northwestern 4, UIC 0
    Records: Northwestern (11-3), Middle Tennessee State (6-3), UIC (2-7)
    Next NU Event: Friday, Feb. 22 - at Denver, 5 p.m.

    Northwestern vs. Middle Tennessee Results
    Northwestern vs. UIC Results

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 33 Northwestern opened Sunday's doubleheader with a spirited 4-3 victory over No. 43 Middle Tennessee State, before sweeping UIC, 4-0, in the nightcap at Combe Tennis Center. NU captured four of six singles matches against MTSU to come away as victors, and overwhelmed the Flames across the board. The wins are numbers 10 and 11 on the young season for the Wildcats, who are looking to gather momentum before the start of Big Ten conference play.

    Against MTSU, the Blue Raiders grabbed the first point of the match after a highly entertaining round of doubles play. At No. 1, the `Cats duo of Sidarth Balaji and Raleigh Smith grabbed the first win of the day with an 8-5 decision over Ben Davis and Victor Cornea. The No. 3 match finished next as David Fox and Christoph Lang were able to come away with a hard-earned 8-6 victory over Mihir Kumar and Alex Pasareanu for the Wildcats. The deciding match was between Spencer Wolf and Chris Jackman for Northwestern and Yannick Born and Marlon Brand of MTSU. Wolf and Jackman fell behind 6-3 before mounting a big comeback to tie things up at seven. In the tiebreaker, the Blue Raiders duo of Born and Brand finished off the match 8-6.

    Playing at No. 3 singles, Balaji made quick work of his opponent, Lang. In the first set, Balaji thoroughly dominated, taking it 6-1 while rattling off the final five points of the set. Set number two was back and forth but, after being tied 3-3, Balaji scored the final three points to win. The No. 6 singles match between Jackman and Fox went down to the third and final set, and Jackman rose to the occasion, posting a 6-2 set victory to take the match 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Northwestern made it three in a row when Smith, playing at No. 2, took down MTSU's Cornea in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Smith went down 4-2 early on in the 2nd set before marching back to earn the win.

    The Wildcats clinched the match with their fourth straight victory after Pasanearu took down Ettore Zito in the 3rd set. Pasanearu fell 6-4 in the first set before coming back strong to post the 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win. The `Cats suffered the first singles play loss of the day at No. 1 as Wolf, ranked No. 114 in the nation, fell just short of upsetting the No. 98 ranked Davis. Wolf kept both sets close but ultimately lost 4-6, 5-7. The most competitive match of the day featured Kumar and Born at No. 4. The match was close throughout, but Born won the 2nd and 3rd sets, including a tiebreaker in the third. Kumar fell 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (7).

    After watching the No. 10 Lady Wildcats take down No. 19 Notre Dame, the `Cats returned to the court against Illinois-Chicago for the nightcap. Northwestern got off to a fast start in doubles, clinching the point decisively. Smith and Balaji were never challenged in their 8-1 win at No. 1, while the senior duo of Wolf and Jackman clinched shortly thereafter at No. 2 with an 8-3 win. Pasareanu and Kumar were halted up 7-3, 30-0 in their No. 3 match.

    Northwestern carried its momentum into singles, where the Flames proved unable to consistently hold serve. The `Cats took the opening sets of all six matches, and cruised to an easy victory. Kumar was the first off the court, taking down Christopher Cole at No. 4 6-1, 6-2. Raleigh Smith was next, winning at No. 1 6-1, 6-1 to put the Wildcats up 3-0. After needing a tiebreak to close out his first set at No. 3, Sidarth Balaji stormed to a 6-1 second-set win to give Northwestern a decisive 4-0 dual victory.

    Play on the remaining three courts was suspended once the win was secured.

    The `Cats next head out west for a weekend road trip, first taking on the University of Denver Friday, February 22 at 5, before squaring off against the New Mexico Lobos on Sunday, February 24 at noon.

    Northwestern 4, Middle Tennessee State 3
    1. Sidarth Balaji/Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Ben Davis/Victor Cornea (MTSU) - 8-5
    2. Yannick Born/Marlon Brand (MTSU) def. Spencer Wolf/Chris Jackman (NU) - 8-7 (6)
    3. David Fox/Christoph Lang (MTSU) def. Mihir Kumar/Alex Pasareanu (NU) - 8-6
    Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*

    1. No. 98 Ben Davis (MTSU) def. Spencer Wolf (NU) - 6-4, 7-5
    2. Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Victor Cornea (MTSU) - 6-3, 6-4
    3. Sidarth Balaji (NU) def. Christoph Lang (MTSU) - 6-1, 6-3
    4. Yannick Born (MTSU) def. Mihir Kumar (NU) - 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7)
    5. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Ettore Zito (MTSU) - 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
    6. Chris Jackman (NU) def. David Fox (MTSU) - 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
    Order of finish: 3, 6, 2, 5*, 1, 4

    Northwestern 4, Illinois-Chicago 0


    1. Balaji/Smith (NU) def. Kamath/Raa (UIC) 8-1
    2. Wolf/Jackman (NU) def. Reifer/Cole (UIC) 8-3
    3. Kumar/Pasareanu (NU) unfinished Lloveras/Oroskar (UIC) 7-3
    Order of finish: 1, 2*

    1. Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Alexander Raa (UIC) 6-1, 6-1
    2. Spencer Wolf (NU) unfinished Alan Reifer (UIC) 6-2, 4-4
    3. Sidarth Balaji (NU) def. Isaac Lloveras (UIC) 7-6 (6), 6-1
    4. Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Christopher Cole (UIC) 6-1, 6-2
    5. Alex Pasareanu (NU) unfinished Maurizio Feoli (UIC) 6-3, 3-5
    6. Chris Jackman (NU) unfinished Rahul Kamath (UIC) 6-2, 5-3
    Order of finish:4, 1, 3*


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