Sebastian Gallego delivered the clinching victory as Minnesota opened its season with a 4-3 win at Nebraska on Saturday night in Lincoln, Neb.
Gallego and Nebraska's David Bendheim played the only three-set contest of the match and headed to the third set with the team score tied 3-3 before Gallego prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. It was the first meeting between the teams since a 4-3 Minnesota win in 1989. Minnesota entered the match ranked 31st in the country and Nebraska is ranked 65th.
Nebraska took the first win of the night at No. 3 doubles, but Minnesota came back with wins at Nos. 1 and 2 to capture the doubles point. The Cornhuskers' Francois Van Impe and Benedikt Lindheim beat Minnesota's Michael Sicora and Julian Dehn 8-1 at No. 3 before the Gophers rallied with wins from Gallego and Phillip Arndt at No. 1 by an 8-4 count and Rok Bonin and Tobias Wernet at No. 2 by an 8-5 score.
Lindheim evened the match for Nebraska by beating Sicora 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5 and Dehn put Minnesota back in front with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Andre Stenger at No. 6.
Five players entered the match ranked individually, but only one matchup featured a pair of ranked opponents facing each other. Minnesota prevailed in that contest with Wernet, ranked 55th, besting 75th-ranked Colin Paar 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 to put the Gophers ahead 3-1.
Nebraska countered with wins from its other two ranked players as Chris Aumueller, ranked 30th, defeated Rok Bonin 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 and 91st-ranked Francois Van Impe downed Dino Bilankov 6-2, 7-5 at No. 4. Bonin, a freshman from Slovenia, was playing his first match as a Gopher since joining the team at the semester break.
Gallego, ranked 67th nationally, finished off Bendheim to give the Gophers the team victory. Gallego pushed his season record to 8-2.
Minnesota will compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor National Tournament next weekend. The Gophers will play in a regional in Lexington, Ky. and meet 16th-ranked Wake Forest in the opening round on Saturday. Minnesota knocked off the Demon Deacons in a dual match last year in Minneapolis.
#31 Minnesota 4, #65 Nebraska 3
Jan 24, 2010 at Lincoln, Neb.
1. #30 Chris Aumueller (NEB) def. Rok Bonin (MINN) 6-4, 6-2
2. #55 Tobias Wernet (MINN) def. #75 Calin Paar (NEB) 6-1, 6-4
3. #67 Sebastian Gallego (MINN) def. David Bendheim (NEB) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
4. #91 Francois Van Impe (NEB) def. Dino Bilankov (MINN) 6-2, 7-5
5. Benedikt Lindheim (NEB) def. Michael Sicora (MINN) 6-0, 6-1
6. Julian Dehn (MINN) def. Andre Stenger (NEB) 6-0, 6-4
1. Sebastian Gallego/Phillip Arndt (MINN) def. Chris Aumueller/David Bendheim (NEB) 8-4
2. Rok Bonin/Tobias Wernet (MINN) def. Calin Paar/Andre Stenger (NEB) 8-5
3. Francois Van Impe/Benedikt Lindheim (NEB) def. Michael Sicora/Julian Dehn (MINN) 8-1
Minnesota 1-0; National ranking #31
Nebraska 3-1; National ranking #65
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,6,2,1,4,3)