Gophers, Badgers Renew Border Battle Rivalry

Feb. 28, 2014

The 47th-ranked Minnesota men’s tennis team will wrap up a one-month-plus stretch in which it hosts seven of its eight matches Saturday when it takes on No. 49 Wisconsin Saturday at the Baseline Tennis Center at 1 p.m. The contest will be the 5-5 Gophers’ second Big Ten competition of the season.

About Minnesota
Minnesota finished the month of February with a 5-5 record after winning four matches in a row before dropping back-to-back-to-back 4-3 decisions and snapping its losing skid with a triumph of the same score over Drake. The Gophers enter the weekend with a 3-3 record against ranked opponents—the two matches Minnesota lost to unranked teams were to Oklahoma State and Iowa, teams currently ranked 18th and 55th in the nation, respectively.

About Wisconsin
Wisconsin, like the Gophers, got off to an 0-2 start to the season, but have won six of seven since then. The Badgers will roll into the Baseline Tennis Center winners of their last three matches, including victories over ranked foes Denver and Marquette in their last two.  Oskar Wikberg has led UW in singles play with a 5-1 mark at the No. 1 position. He has a 3-1 ledger at No. 1 doubles with Alexander Kokorev. Kokorev has played at No. 1 doubles in every match and is 4-2 at the position.

Against the Badgers
The Gophers have played against Wisconsin 106 times and have come out on top in 58 of those meetings. Wisconsin won last year’s match in Madison, Wis., 4-3.

Toledo Earns B1G Honor, Rejoins Rankings
Gopher junior Leandro Toledo picked the Big Ten Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week award for the second time in his career in the team’s second week of play. 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. Minnesota’s Toledo, Rok Bonin, and Juan Pablo Ramirez gave the team three award winners in 2013.

Since winning the award, Toledo pushed his win streak to six and is now 7-3 on the year. He climbed back into the national rankings at No. 80 and now sits at No. 84.

Hamburg and Froment Move Up
After an 11-2 record in the fall that put them at No. 47 entering the spring season, doubles partners Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment were unable to finish their first match and dropped their second match, but have won their last seven matches, including a 6-4 triumph over No. 17 Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster of Harvard to move up to No. 22 in the ITA rankings.

After serving as the Gophers’ No. 1 doubles team in 2013, Hamburg and Froment entered the spring with an 18-10 overall record together—they are now 25-11.

Hamburg Heating Up
In addition to being 7-1 with a seven-match win streak in doubles with Mathieu Froment, Jack Hamburg has also been reliable at No. 3 singles. The Rapid City, S.D. native is currently on a six-match win streak and is 6-2 on the season. Two of his wins have come against ranked opponents.

Match Format Changes
The experimental scoring format using to begin the college tennis season has reverted back to the old system as of Feb. 10 for the women. From this point forward, there will be three doubles matches using eight-game pro-sets and the team winning at least two of the matches gets one team point. If the pro-set is tied 7-7, a seven-point tiebreaker is played. If one team wins two doubles matches, the third match will go unfinished. 

Six singles matches are then played and each are worth one team point. The matches are best-of-three sets with tiebreakers played to seven points if the set is tied 6-6. Once a team has reached four team points, it has clinched the team victory. The remaining matches are completed with a 10-point match tiebreaker played in place of a third set.