The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa men’s tennis competes in championships

Iowa’s Lefteris Theodorou returns the ball at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Theodorou defeated Harry Jadun, 7-6, 6-3. Michigan State defeated Iowa, 4-3. (The Daily Iowan/Rachael Westergard)

The Iowa men’s tennis team competed in the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City this past weekend, playing against 10 other conference schools to fight for bragging rights heading into the spring season.
Play started Nov. 6 with doubles competition. Junior Nils Hallestrand and freshman Jonas Larsen started things off for the Hawkeyes in the round of 32, taking on Wisconsin. The length of the 6-5 Hallestrand at the net proved too much for the Badgers, and the Hawkeye duo moved on to the round of 16.

In the round of 16 against Michigan, Hallestrand, along with Larsen hitting ball after ball down the line, was enough for them to advance. Sophomores Jake Jacoby and Lefteris Theodorou received a bye in the first round and opened up play in the round of 16 winning against Penn State.

Senior Dom Patrick and junior Robin Haden were the lone loss for Iowa in the round of 16. The duo rallied from a 5-2 deficit against Nebraska to force a tiebreaker but could not muster enough shots to win.

In the doubles quarterfinals Hallestrand and Larsen ran into the eventual champions, Nebraska, and fell (6-3).

Jacoby and Theodorou dropped a golden opportunity in the quarters, falling to Penn State after holding leads at 4-1 and 5-3.

“We played well in doubles,” head coach Ross Wilson said. “Dom and Robin had a tough first round. They got down early but got it to a tiebreaker. Lefty and Jake played well. In their second match, they’re up 5-3 serving and can’t put it away, though. Nils and Jonas beat a seeded team; we’ve been impressed with those two this fall.”

Singles play picked up on Nov. 7, with seven Iowa players competing against the field.

The Hawkeyes went 4-2 in the round of 64.

Theodorou, who covered every inch of the court in his opening round win, beat Remy of Wisconsin in straight sets (6-2, 7-5).

Haden, playing in his first Big Ten Tournament after a transfer from the SEC, picked up a win after getting into trouble early. After winning the tiebreaker in the first set, Haden cruised to a straight set victory (7-6 [4], 6-1).

Hallestrand lost a marathon to Stefan Lugonjic of Indiana (7-5, 5-7, 6-2). Hallestrand had the serve going early but put too many forehands into the net to win.

Jacoby picked up an opening round win after falling behind in both sets. The sophomore won (6-4, 6-4) after trailing 3-0 in the first and 2-0 in the second set.

Larsen was defeated in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) in the opening round. The freshman was overmatched by his opponent, a senior from Nebraska.

Tony Leto, another freshman for the Hawkeyes, picked up an opening-round win. Leto, listed at 5-8, had a big forehand for a small guy and cruised through the match.

Theodorou picked up the Hawkeyes only win in the round of 32, defeating Marino Alpeza of Minnesota. After the two traded blows in the first two sets, Theodorou took control of the third set and won after Alpeza retired because of an injury.

Patrick and Haden both pushed their matches to deciding sets, but both fell apart in their respective matches.

“I think it was mental,” Wilson said. “The guys, for whatever reason, were just mentally worn out.”

Jacoby and Leto both dropped their round of 32 matches as well.

Theodorou faced off against No. 1 overall seed Dusty Boyer of Nebraska in the round of 16, in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament to this point.

Theodorou has the most raw talent on Iowa’s roster, and possibly the most in the tournament, and it was on display against the most polished player in the tournament.

After going up 3-1 early, Theodorou dropped the first set (6-3).

Assistant coach Greg Ouellette was right by the sophomore’s side during the match.

“Lefty is a very good player,” Ouellette said. “He’s got all the strokes; I’m just trying to tell him to stay in it and keep competing with the guy because I knew the guy was a good player as well.”

Theodorou battled through the second set, but Boyer hit aces to go up 3-1, again at 4-2, and once more at 5-3, to keep Theodorou at bay.

“You know you have to come in ready to go against a guy like [Theodorou],” Boyer said. “If you don’t show up, you’ll be down right away. He’s always going to play pretty tough.”

The semifinals and finals of the tournament will continue today, though no Hawkeyes qualified for them.


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