Doubles troubles

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s tennis has faltered in doubles this season, forcing the Hawkeyes to face a cascade of problems throughout the season.

While the English duo of Will Davies and Oliver Okonkwo has been solid all year, the Hawkeyes have struggled to find a second reliable doubles pair.

Okonkwo and Davies were recently ranked second in the nation in doubles play by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The pair’s No. 2 doubles ranking is good for an Iowa men’s tennis record.

While the Hawkeyes can bank on Davies and Okonkwo winning consistently, they haven’t found a second doubles pair that can help them earn the doubles point on a match-by-match basis.

This season, Davies and Okonkwo have won seven of their nine completed doubles matches. Despite that, the Hawkeyes have only earned the doubles point twice, following a Davies-Okonkwo victory.

Hawkeye head coach Ross Wilson even tried to separate Davies and Okonkwo this season, in an attempt to improve Iowa’s odds to earn doubles points.

This year, Davies has played three matches alongside senior Kareem Allaf, and Okonkwo has been paired with sophomore Nikita Snezhko once and junior Joe Tyler twice.

In the three matches that saw Okonkwo and Davies separate, Iowa claimed the doubles point once.

Overall, Iowa has earned the doubles point in just six of its 17 total dual matches.

Last year, when the Hawkeyes were on the precipice of their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth before COVID-19 cut the season short, doubles play was Iowa’s strength.

In 2019-20, the Hawkeyes won 10 of 14 doubles points on their way to a 12-2 overall record.

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