Minnesota's season of tight matches continued in the regular season finale as the Gophers dropped a 4-3 decision to Purdue on Sunday at the Baseline Tennis Center.
It was the 10th time in 23 matches that the Gophers played a 4-3 match, though it was their fifth straight defeat in such matches after winning four of the first five. Minnesota finished the regular season at 10-13 overall and 3-7 in the Big Ten after dropping its fifth straight match overall.
The Gophers will open the Big Ten tournament on Thursday at Iowa as the ninth seed and take on eighth-seeded Wisconsin. The Badgers handed the Gophers one of their 4-3 losses last weekend in a contest that came down to a third-set tiebreaker in the final singles matches.
Purdue, which is 16-5 overall and 5-5 in league play, took the pivotal doubles point in a tiebreaker in the clinching match. After the Boilermakers' No. 1 tandem of Jennifer Rabot and Michelle Sammons beat Alessandra Ferrazzi and Alexa Palen 8-2, the Gophers bounced back with a win at No. 2 as seniors Tijana Koprivica and Jackie Sperling downed Anna Dushkina and Gisella Pere 8-5.
Purdue claimed the doubles point when its No. 3 pairing of Imogen Golder and Bhavani Tirumurti rallied from a 7-5 deficit to force a tiebreaker with Mariana Spilca and Magdalena Wiecha. The Boilermakers' duo won five of the last six points for a 7-3 tiebreaker win.
Purdue won the first three singles matches to clinch the match with a 4-0 advantage before Minnesota rallied to win the remaining three clashes. Sammons beat Ferrazzi 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 and Tirumurti defeated Sperling 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3. Rabot clinched the match by holding off Koprivica 6-1, 7-5 at No. 2.
Doron Muravnik got Minnesota on the board with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Golder at No. 5 and Palen followed with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Dushkina at No. 4. Wiecha and Pere battled into a third set at No. 6 with Wiecha finally prevailing 7-3 in a third-set tiebreaker for a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 victory. It was Wiecha's third straight three-set match after playing only two in her first 29 matches of the season.
#52 Purdue 4, #66 Minnesota 3
1. Michelle Sammons (PUR) def. Alessandra Ferrazzi (MINN) 6-0, 6-2
2. #111 Jennifer Rabot (PUR) def. Tijana Koprivica (MINN) 6-1, 7-5
3. Bhavani Tirumurti (PUR) def. Jackie Sperling (MINN) 6-2, 6-4
4. Alexa Palen (MINN) def. Anna Dushkina (PUR) 6-4, 6-4
5. Doron Muravnik (MINN) def. Imogen Golder (PUR) 6-2, 6-2
6. Magdalena Wiecha (MINN) def. Gisella Pere (PUR) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3)
1. Jennifer Rabot/Michelle Sammons (PUR) def. Alessandra Ferrazzi/Alexa Palen (MINN) 8-2
2. Tijana Koprivica/Jackie Sperling (MINN) def. Anna Dushkina/Gisella Pere (PUR) 8-5
3. Imogen Golder/Bhavani Tirumurti (PUR) def. Mariana Spilca/Magdalena Wiecha (MINN) 9-8 (7-3)
Purdue 16-5, 5-5 Big Ten; National ranking #52
Minnesota 10-13, 3-7 Big Ten; National ranking #66
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,3,2,5,4,6)