One week after pulling out a narrow 4-3 road win against Miami, the No. 22 Minnesota men’s tennis team will play at home for the first time in a month this weekend. The Gophers will take on No. 70 Northwestern on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Denver on Saturday at 5 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Baseline Tennis Center.
After Minnesota won the doubles competition in Miami last Friday, the Gophers and Hurricanes exchanged singles points until Brendan Ruddock tied the match 3-3 with a three-set win at the fourth position. Rok Bonin secured a Gopher win with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8) victory in the top flight. It was Minnesota’s eighth win in nine matches.
This Friday’s match against Northwestern will be UM’s second in the Big Ten this spring. The Gophers took down Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. 5-2 on Feb. 13. Minnesota and Northwestern have split 91 all-time matches (45-45-1) with the Gophers taking four out of the last five.
In 2010, Minnesota outlasted the Wildcats 5-2 outdoors at the Baseline Tennis Center. Current Gophers Sebastian Gallego, Tobias Wernet, Ruddock won in singles play and Wernet, Bonin, and Julian Dehn all contributed to doubles wins.
In the fall, five different Minnesota players faced Wildcat opponents at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in East Lansing, Mich. The Gophers were 1-2 in singles 0-2 doubles on the weekend.
Denver and Minnesota have only met twice all-time with each team winning once. UM opened its 2007 and 2008 dual-match schedules against the Pioneers. Of players on the current Gopher roster, only Gallego and Derek Peterson have competed against DU in dual-match play. In 2008, both players were part of doubles losses and Gallego defaulted due to an illness in his singles match. Denver won 5-2.
Back in September, UM kicked off its fall campaign by participating in the Denver Pioneer Invitational at DU. Against Pioneer foes, Minnesota went 8-6 in singles and 2-1 in doubles. Bonin ran the table with a 4-0 singles record to capture the tournament title and Dehn, Ruddock, Phillip Arndt, and Eddie Svenda recorded singles wins against Denver opponents on the final day of the event to finish the weekend on a high note.
After Minnesota’s match against DU, its final non-conference match of the season, the team will head to Michigan to face No. 44 Michigan State on April 2 and No. 18 Michigan on April 3. The Gophers will then return home the next weekend to play 32nd-ranked Indiana and 67th-ranked Purdue.