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

Men’s tennis starts with ranked win

Iowa senior Nils Hallestrand serves the ball during the BIG Tens Single Championship in the Indoor Tennis Complex on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Courtney Hawkins)

The Iowa men’s tennis team (1-0) flexed its muscles on Monday, beating No. 70 Utah State handily, 7-0.
The No. 71 Hawkeyes proved to be bad hosts, sweeping the Aggies in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

“This was our first match of the year, and we’ve only really had five days of practice with the guys since they got back,” head coach Ross Wilson said. “So I knew the level we could play at, but I was very happy with how we came out. We had good starts, we controlled the matches and played very well.”

Iowa picked up the doubles point with wins coming from the duo of senior Dom Patrick and sophomore Josh Silverstein (6-4), along with juniors Nils Hallestrand and Robin Haden (6-3).

Hallestrand continued his fine work in doubles, carrying over his success from the Big Ten Indoor Tournament, held in Iowa City in November 2015.

The Hawkeyes took a stranglehold of the match during singles play, winning all but one set in the six matches.
Haden, a transfer, and freshman Jonas Larsen both picked up their first regular-season wins for the Hawkeyes in singles. Haden won the first singles point for Iowa, and Larsen clinched the match.

“I didn’t expect [to clinch the win],” Larsen said. “I didn’t start off with doubles today so that I could focus on singles. I think that helped, and I came out fired up from the first point. It was great to be out there for the first time and really feel the chemistry of the team.”

Silverstein won his match at No. 3 singles in straight sets. The sophomore, who played his way into the championship of two tournaments over break, looked poised to have a breakout season for the Hawkeyes.

Sophmore Lefteris Theodorou picked up a convincing win at No. 2 singles. The Greek player wore down his freshman opponent from Utah State, waiting for him to make mistakes.

“The guy I played was a freshman, so I knew I had more experience than him,” Theodorou said. “That definitely played a role. He showed signs of wearing down mentally. He made a lot of errors, so I just had to stay ready and make a lot of balls. I just had to wait for him to make an error and then take my chances.”
In his first match playing at the No. 1 spot for the Hawkeyes, Patrick picked up a gritty three-set victory (3-6, 6-4, 6-2). Jaime Barajas, Patrick’s opponent, is ranked No. 9 in the Mountain Region.

The win against a ranked Utah State team is a big one for Iowa, which has hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes have set a goal of seven ranked wins and are now one closer with a lot of tennis left to play.

A dominating opening win will do nothing but good for the Hawkeyes, who are still young after graduating only one starter from last season.

“Obviously, you always want to win, and that gives you confidence, but I think [today] showed that this team’s goals are pretty high this season,” Wilson said. “Every guy in that locker room believes we can make the NCAA Tournament. Today was a match that had been circled on the calendar for a long time.”

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