Feb. 6, 2014
Riding a four-match winning streak, the 39th-ranked Minnesota men's tennis team will host two ranked opponents at the Baseline Tennis Center this weekend. No. 34 Tulsa will visit Friday at 6 p.m. and the Gophers will wrap up a five-match homestand Saturday against 25th-ranked Harvard at 3 p.m. The weekend matches will mark the team's final tests before they begin conference action at Iowa Feb. 16.
Minnesota dropped its first two matches of the season, 4-1 to current No. 29 Oklahoma State, and 4-3 to current No. 16 Notre Dame, but has won its last four matches to improve to 4-2. The Gophers, who have seen junior Leandro Toledo win five-consecutive matches at the No. 1 position, have defeated ranked foes Brigham Young and Arkansas, as well as Wisconsin schools Green Bay and Marquette.
Tulsa began the season by reeling off four consecutive wins at home, but has gone 1-4 since with two of those losses coming in neutral-site matches. All four of the Golden Hurricane's losses have come against opponents ranked 41st or higher in the current ITA rankings. UT, which will play in its first road match of the season Friday, has one ranked singles player in No. 71 Carlos Bautista.
No. 25 Harvard comes to town with an 0-2 record on the season after dropping matches to highly-ranked opponents in Mississippi two weeks ago in No. 9 Mississippi State and No. 26 South Carolina. The Crimson boast two ranked singles players in No. 44 Denis Nguyen and No. 81 Sebastian Beltrame and two top-50 doubles tandems in 17th-ranked Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster and No. 48 Brian Yeung and Nicky Hu
Against the Golden Hurricane and Crimson
Minnesota will play Tulsa for the third time in as many years Friday after falling to the Golden Hurricane, 4-3, in 2013 and dropping a 4-2 decision to the same school in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 in Norman, Okla. The Gophers will face Harvard for the first time in a decade--the Crimson edged Minnesota, 4-3, in the teams' last dual-match meeting in 2004 to take a 2-1 lead in the all-time series.
Toledo Earns B1G Honor
Gopher junior Leandro Toledo picked the Big Ten Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week award for the second time in his career last week. The Hamburg, Germany native, who earned his first-career win at No. 1 singles with a triumph of 22nd-ranked Greg Andrews of Notre Dame before claiming a second win at the position the following day against BYU, teamed up with Eric Frueh to go 1-1 in singles on the weekend.
Minnesota's Toledo, Rok Bonin, and Juan Pablo Ramirez gave the team three award winners in 2013.
Since winning the award, Toledo has extended his win streak to five matches with wins against Green Bay, Marquette, and Arkansas.
Hamburg and Froment Ranked
After an 11-2 record in the fall that included runs to the USTA/ITA Division I Men's Central Regional and Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic championship matches, as well as a seven-match winning streak, junior doubles duo Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment will entered the spring as the 47th-ranked tandem in the nation.
After serving as the Gophers' No. 1 doubles team in 2013, Hamburg and Froment entered the spring with an 18-10 overall record together. Because Minnesota's other two doubles teams lost, the two did not get to complete its first match against OSU. After opening the year with a loss to No. 21 Greg Andrews and Alex Lawson of Notre Dame, they have racked up victories against BYU, Marquette, and Arkansas.
Match Format Changes
The dual meet will consist of three doubles matches played first (worth a total of one point), followed by six singles matches, each individual match worth one point. Four points are required to win the team match. The three doubles matches will each consist of one set to six, with no-ad scoring and a tiebreaker at five-all. Once a team has won two doubles matches, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. Six singles matches will follow the doubles. Each singles match is best two out of three sets, with each set using no-ad scoring, and a tiebreaker at five-all in each set. Once one team has earned four total points, the remaining singles matches shall not be completed and the dual meet will end.