With the match on the line, all eyes turned to Andrew Fenty. The freshman needed a third set win to clinch the match for the Michigan men’s tennis team (12-5 overall, 3-2 Big Ten).
Fenty prevailed, earning the Wolverines a 4-3 victory over Purdue (7-9, 1-4) in West Lafayette on Saturday, which they followed with a 5-2 triumph over Indiana (9-8, 3-2) on Sunday, wins Michigan desperately needed following a pair of tough losses to Penn State and Ohio State.
Both days featured strong performances from freshman Patrick Maloney, who went undefeated in doubles and singles play on the weekend. On Saturday, he and sophomore Kristofer Siimar quickly disposed of the Boilermakers’ No. 3 doubles pair, 6-2, before Maloney dominated Purdue’s Maksymilian Raupuk, 6-0, 6-3, in singles play.
The Hoosiers posed a tougher challenge for Maloney on Sunday, but he and junior Connor Johnston ultimately prevailed with a 7-5 win in doubles play, which Maloney followed up with a 6-4, 6-7 (9), 6-2 victory on the No. 5 singles court.
Second set struggles were a theme for the Wolverines all weekend. On Saturday, Fenty and sophomore Mattias Siimar both won their first singles sets before dropping their second sets — Fenty would ultimately win, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, but Siimar would lose, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Junior Nick Beaty, however, broke this trend in his first dual match of the season, dominating Purdue’s Santiago Galan, 6-2, 6-1, on the No. 6 court.
Sunday, Fenty, Maloney, and seniors Myles Schalet and Gabe Tishman all followed first set wins with second set losses, but all four won their third sets, helping to secure the victory for Michigan. Mattias Siimar and Johnston would be the Wolverines’ only singles losses against Indiana.
Fenty’s strong weekend added to a long streak of impressive performances for the freshman standout, whose singles wins closed out both Michigan team victories. His 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 triumph on Sunday was his 12th consecutive singles win and his team-leading 20th overall. On top of that, he and Schalet added two weekend doubles victories on the No. 2 court.
Mattias Siimar, on the other hand, has had an uncharacteristic string of losses at No. 1 singles. He followed his tough defeat on Saturday with a 6-0, 6-3 loss to the Hoosiers’ Antonio Cambellin on Sunday. Still, outstanding performances from Fenty and Maloney mean that the Wolverines can still continue to succeed while he works out the kinks in his game.