Allaf becomes Iowa tennis’ all-time leader in combined wins

The senior from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, passed former Hawkeye Tyler Cleveland on Iowa’s all-time list for combined singles and doubles wins.


Grace Smith

Iowa’s Kareem Allaf serves the ball during the Iowa Men’s tennis meet v. Wisconsin in the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Friday, March. 12, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers 5-2.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s tennis team hit a new low on Easter Sunday, extending its losing streak to six matches with a loss to Nebraska. Prior to Sunday’s matchup in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers had not won a single match in 2020-21.

The Hawkeyes’ current six-match losing streak is the longest they’ve suffered under the supervision of head coach Ross Wilson.

Adding insult to injury for Iowa was the way in which Nebraska won the match.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead with two wins in doubles to earn the doubles point. Iowa then proceeded to drop four singles bouts to lose the dual.

Senior Kareem Allaf served as one of Iowa’s lone bright spots on Sunday, earning a 6-1 victory in doubles alongside junior Will Davies and a 6-3, 6-0-win singles over Nebraska’s Victor Moreno Lozano.

With the pair of victories he earned Sunday, Allaf passed former Hawkeye Tyler Cleveland to become Iowa tennis’ all-time leader in combined singles and doubles wins.

Allaf now has 161 combined singles and doubles wins in.

Wilson’s recent decision to shake up his team’s doubles pairs also paid off Sunday, as sophomore Oliver Okonkwo and junior Joe Tyler breezed by Nebraska’s No. 2 pairing of Nic Weidenhorn and William Gleason, 6-1.

From there, it looked like the Hawkeyes were going to break out of their recent slump.

Tyler snapped his two-match losing streak with a quick, 6-3, 6-1, singles win over Brandon Perez. Allaf followed Tyler’s performance with his own singles win to give the Hawkeyes a 3-0 lead on the match.

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From there, the Hawkeyes needed to win just one of the next four singles matches to clinch a victory, but they couldn’t accomplish that feat.

Freshman Peter Alam lost to Wiedenhorn in singles, 6-2, 6-1. Alam has yet to win a single bout in college.

Davies also fell in singles Sunday, 6-2, 6-3. The Norwich, England, native has now lost four-straight matches after rattling off seven wins in his first eight conference bouts.

Davis has had a winning record for the last three seasons.

After Davies lost, Iowa needed a win from Okonkwo or senior Jason Kerst.

Okonkwo made a statement in the second set of his match after a blowout loss in set one, forcing a third-set tiebreaker.

When the dust settled, Okonkwo fell to Gleason in the tiebreaker, 7-5, setting the stage for a sink-or-swim match for Kerst.

Like Okonkwo, Kerst won the second set of his match after dropping set one. The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native forced a third set, but he could not produce an individual victory or a team win for the Hawkeyes, losing 6-3, 3-6, and 6-4.

With the loss to the Cornhuskers, the Hawkeyes’ record now sits at 4-8 in league play and 4-10 overall.

Just four matches remain before the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Championships begin. Iowa will have to win all of its remaining matchups to get to the .500 mark before the regular season ends.

The Hawkeyes have already lost to three of their four remaining opponents at least once this season.

Iowa returns to the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City on Friday at 1 p.m. to take on No. 12 Illinois.

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