Six days removed from its first win in nine matches, the Minnesota women’s tennis team will look to build on its momentous comeback victory with road matches against No. 66 Purdue and Indiana. This weekend is the first of two straight weekends in which the Gophers will play a pair of contests away from the Twin Cities.
Last Sunday, UM opened the Baseline Tennis Center’s outdoor courts with a 4-3 win over 60th-ranked Michigan State. Playing with all of its players available for the first time in a month and a half, Minnesota fell into a 3-0 hole, but received straight-set singles wins from Alexa Palen, Doron Muravnik, and Magdalena Wiecha and thrilling three-set triumph by No. 56 Natallia Pintusava to steal the victory.
Purdue enters Saturday’s match having lost five of its last eight matches. The Boilermakers 9-6 overall and are 3-2 in Big Ten play, good for fifth place in the conference. Last week, PU split a pair of 4-3 matches, falling at Illinois and defeating Iowa on the road. Purdue is 6-1 at its home court, the Schwartz Tennis Center, but has played there only once since Feb. 20 when it opened its Big Ten schedule with a win over Indiana.
The Gophers have won two thirds of their 39 all-time matches against PU, but fell to the Boilermakers at home last season. Palen, Wiecha, and Muravnik claimed doubles victories, but Purdue won at the top three positions and won the doubles competition to take the overall win.
On Sunday, Minnesota will travel north to Bloomington, Ind. to take on last-place Indiana. The Gophers have lost their last eight meetings with the Hoosiers and have only beaten IU six times in 37 attempts all-time. Indiana got off to a 10-2 start in dual match play, but is currently on a six-game losing streak, including losses in each of its first five Big Ten matches.
When the two teams met last season, UM earned the doubles point, but could only muster two wins in singles play and lost overall 4-3. Current Minnesota senior Alessandra Ferrazzi was victorious at the top position in singles and partnered with Palen, currently a sophomore, to win No. 1 doubles.
After this week, the Gophers will head to Penn State and Ohio State before wrapping up regular season play at home against Illinois and Iowa.