April 22, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 52 Michigan State 4, No. 75 Northwestern 3
Records: NU (11-12, 2-7 Big Ten), Michigan State (17-8. 3-7 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, April 23 vs. Michigan Evanston, Ill. 4 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- In its first dual match at home in nearly three weeks, No. 75 Northwestern came a tiebreaker point away from upending 52nd-ranked Michigan State on Friday night in the Combe Tennis Center. The Spartans edged the 'Cats, 4-3, in an arduous match that lasted nearly four and a half hours.
In true dramatic fashion, the dual came down to the No. 1 match between Wildcats junior Josh Graves and Denis Bogatov of Michigan State. The two battled back and forth for over two hours, each making shots that enticed the large crowd, neither wanting to give way. Bogatov eventually came out on top, outlasting Graves, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5).
The Wildcats began the night strong at doubles, with the No. 2 twosome of Tobias Reitz and Andrew McCarthy earning their 13th win of the season with a convincing 8-4 victory over Aaron Pfister and Austin Brooks of Michigan State. The Spartans came back, however, at the No. 1 spot, downing NU's Joshua Graves and Spencer Wolf, 8-4, handing the pair their sixth loss this season.
With a big win from the No. 3 duo, Chris Jackman and Raleigh Smith, Northwestern took a 1-0 advantage heading into singles. Jackman and Smith defeated Jason Norville and Mat Nelson of Michigan State in a close, 8-6 battle, earning a team-best sixth doubles win against a Big Ten team.
Senior Andrew McCarthy
kicked things off for the 'Cats with, knocking off the Spartans' Ronnie Hulewicz in two sets, 6-2, 6-1, placing NU ahead, 2-0. The win was McCarthy's 10th of the year and fourth at the No. 4 spot. Shortly after, freshman Raleigh Smith
, playing only his second match at No. 3, fell to Michigan State's Aaron Pfister in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, giving MSU its first win.
Spencer Wolf extended Northwestern's lead with his 6-2, 6-3 victory on the No. 2 line over Michigan State's Aaron Brooks. Wolf leads the 'Cats with 12 singles wins on the season, five of which have come at the expense of Big Ten opponents.
Michigan State answered again with back-to-back wins to tie things at three apiece. At No. 5, NU sophomore Chris Jackman lost the first set, 6-3, to the Spartans' Drew Lied, but forced a second-set tiebreaker after stringing together four wins. Lied won four straight points of his own in the tiebreaker, never looking back, winning, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) over Jackman. Northwestern's No. 5 Tobias Reitz fell next to John Stratton in two straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, making the No. 1 spot the deciding factor for the dual.
Josh Graves and Denis Bogatov went head-to-head in a grueling match, extending the dual by over an hour. Bogatov took advantage of Graves' slow start, going up 4-2 in the first set en route to a 6-4 win. Graves came back in full stride, however, taking the second set convincingly, 6-3, forcing a final tiebreaker set to determine the match.
Appearing to have it no other way, Graves and Bogatov went back-and-forth again in the tiebreaker. Graves jumped out to a 5-1 advantage, but the Michigan State sophomore won the final five points, sealing the 4-3 victory for the Spartans.
Up next, the 'Cats host Michigan in the final home match of the regular season at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Because of the start time and projected weather, the match is scheduled to be indoors at the Combe Tennis Center. The following week, Northwestern heads to Madison, Wisc., for the Big Ten Championships, scheduled from April 28-May 1.
No. 52 Michigan State 4, No. 75 Northwestern 3
1: Denis Bogatov (MSU) def. Joshua Graves (NU), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
2: Spencer Wolf (NU) def. Austin Brooks (MSU) 6-2, 6-3
3: Aaron Pfister (MSU) def. Raleigh Smith (NU), 6-1, 6-3
4: Andrew McCarthy (NU) def. Ronnie Hulewicz (MSU) 6-2, 6-1
5: John Stratton (MSU) def. Tobias Reitz (NU), 6-4, 6-3
6: Drew Lied (MSU) def. Chris Jackman (NU), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
1: Stratton/Lied (MSU) def. Graves/Wolf (NU), 8-4
2: McCarthy/Reitz (NU) def. Pfister/Brooks (MSU), 8-4
3: Jackman/Smith (NU) def. Norville/Nelson (MSU) 8-6
Order of Finish:
Singles (4, 3, 2, 6, 5, 1*)
Doubles (2, 1, 3*)
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