Two more ranked opponents lie ahead for Minnesota’s men’s tennis team this weekend as the Gophers continue to jockey for postseason seedings.
The 33rd-ranked Gophers travel to face 48th-ranked Northwestern at noon on Saturday and then head to Wisconsin on Sunday for a matchup with the 27th-ranked Badgers at noon on Sunday. Minnesota is coming off a tough 4-3 loss to Big Ten unbeaten Illinois on Sunday that dropped its overall record to 15-5 overall and 4-2 in the conference.
The Gophers enter the weekend alone in third place in the Big Ten and two matches behind co-leaders Ohio State and Illinois. Five teams are one match behind Minnesota, including both Northwestern and Wisconsin.
Tobias Wernet had a big weekend for the Gophers with two singles victories, including a straight-sets triumph over 39th-ranked Dennis Nevolo of Illinois on Sunday. Wernet leads the Gophers with a 22-7 record for the season, including a 15-4 mark in dual matches.
Ishay Hadash is ranked 60th in the country, but lost his most recent match against Illinois to fall to 17-9 for the season. He will likely face two more ranked opponents this weekend in 101st-ranked Marc Dwyer of Northwestern and 31st-ranked Moritz Baumann of Wisconsin.
Dino Bilankov won both of his singles matches last weekend to run his record to 17-6 overall after a slow start to the season due to injuries. Bilankov is now 7-3 in his last 10 matches and is one of the team’s hottest players. Michael Sicora has also been hot with wins in eight of his last 10 matches to push his overall mark to 18-7.
Northwestern has been playing incredibly tight matches recently with 10 straight matches decided by scores of 5-2 or closer, including seven 4-3 decisions. The Wildcats beat Wisconsin 4-3 last weekend to improve to 15-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten.
Sunday’s match at Wisconsin marks a rematch of an intense quarterfinal at last season’s Big Ten meet that saw the Badgers rally for a 4-3 victory in a match that ended at 1:11 a.m. in Iowa City. Wisconsin is 14-6 overall and 3-3 in the league.