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UW preps for Big Ten with home twinbill

first_imgIs it possible to find anything constructive in a dominating performance against two lackluster teams?For a poised men’s tennis team like Wisconsin, the answer no doubt is yes.Sunday’s doubleheader against No. 70 Illinois State and Western Illinois served as a perfect pick-me-up with Big Ten play beginning in six days against No. 10 Illinois.Winning 6-1, 6-0, the double feature allowed Wisconsin an opportunity to prepare for the tough conference season that lies ahead by building confidence and allowing younger players a chance at the action.But mostly, according to head coach Greg Van Emburgh, the team just needed to play a lot of tennis.“Overall, we got what we needed out of [the doubleheader],” he said. “I was hoping that guys in the second match would’ve been pushed a little harder… but they must have just played really well, they took care of business quickly.”“Overall I think we needed to play a lot of tennis today. Illinois is going to be a good team… and I feel like if we’re match sharp we’re going to win that match.”All eight Badgers on the active roster were able to participate in at least two matches on Sunday — five of which came away with a flawless record on the day.Confidence building was a big objective for the Badgers, and not just for the team’s less experienced players. Senior Moritz Baumann, ranked No. 13 nationally, hoped to improve in that facet of the game, as he sat with a 3-3 singles record before Sunday’s match arrived.With two singles victories as well as a win in doubles, Van Emburgh believed Baumann benefited from the opportunity.“We wanted to make sure Moritz was getting a bunch of matches so he could feel good about his game again, which I think we’re really close to doing with him,” he said. “The boy that he was playing (Jeff Cote of Western Illinois) was pretty strong — a good match for him to get some good points and to feel good about his game.”With three wins in one day, Baumann believes it can lead to better play in the future.“It’s all about confidence in tennis,” he said. “When you win, you play better automatically. When you lose, you lose confidence, so it’s good when you win those matches.”With a second chance provided by the doubleheader, freshman Billy Bertha was able to redeem a frustrating singles loss to Illinois State’s Matej Zlatkovic, in which Bertha was shutout in the last set.Paired against Francisco Ortiz of Western Illinois, Bertha didn’t let his last match haunt him, losing only two games en route to sweeping the match.Taking Baumann’s words into consideration, Bertha should be feeling good when thinking about his next match after bouncing back.For others, though, Sunday’s matches offered a chance to test the aspects of their game that have needed improvement.Freshman Chris Freeman made the development of his serve loud and clear, acing three consecutive against Western Illinois’ Rodrigo Azevedo.“We always practice different things and if it’s kind of a routine match you always try and focus on different aspects of your game, rather than just trying to get though the match,” he said. “So I worked on my serve this week and really tried to execute on that, so it helped out in the match today.”Despite the success seen on Sunday, Van Emburgh knows the team has yet to reach its summit in terms of performance. Next week’s match against Illinois will not be a litmus test of sorts like Sunday’s. And with that, Van Emburgh will continue to push the team closer to that summit.“We want to keep working on doubles to keep that sharp, make sure the teams that are out there are going to compliment each other really well – I think we’re really close to that,” he said. “I don’t think we’re peaking yet, we still have room for improvement.”last_img read more

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