IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team was edged in its season opener by Texas Tech, 4-3, Thursday evening in a match that lasted nearly four hours at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.
The Red Raiders, who finished last season ranked No. 27 nationally, captured the doubles point with victories on courts one (6-4) and three (6-3) over 16th-ranked Davies/Okonkwo and Allaf/Snezhko, respectively.
Texas Tech increased its lead over the Hawkeyes to 3-0 with singles wins by Bjorn Thomson at No. 6 and 69th-ranked Ilgaz Valiev at No. 2 before 60th-ranked Kareem Allaf got the Hawkeyes on the board with a 6-4, 7-6(3) triumph over Parker Wynn on court one. Juniors Joe Tyler and Will Davies notched three-set victories on courts three and four, respectively. Tyler posted a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win over No. 114 Reed Collier, while Davies rallied to bounce Francisco Vittar, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.
The match came down to the singles contest on court No. 5. Senior Jason Kerst was outlasted by Franco Ribero, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, in the deciding match.
Quoting Mellecker Family Head Coach Ross Wilson
“I thought it was a great effort by our guys today. It was the first match of the year and we knew we’d have a tough one in Texas Tech. It is always a battle with those guys and I’m happy we came mentally prepared and competed hard. They gave it all they had and emotionally they were there.
We can definitely play a lot better tennis, especially in doubles. I’m sure we will correct some things in practice, but credit Texas Tech’s No. 1 doubles team for playing a great match and it showed why they finished in the top-10 in the country. Credit to them at the end in the No. 5 singles match, it could’ve gone either way. It was a good day competitively and I believe we can build on this. Texas Tech finished 27th in the country last year and it showed; we can play with anyone and have a chance to win. We’re looking forward to playing again on Saturday.”
Iowa will host Western Michigan (11 a.m. CT) and Creighton (4 p.m. CT) on Saturday at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. Admission is free to the public.
Texas Tech 4, Iowa 3
Jan. 16, 2020 | 6 p.m. | Iowa City, Iowa | Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex
1. #60 Kareem Allaf (UI) def. Parker Wynn (TT): 6-4, 7-6(3)
2. #69 Ilgaz Valiev (TT) def. Oliver Okonkwo (UI): 7-6(6), 6-3
3. Joe Tyler (UI) def. #114 Reed Collier (TT): 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
4. Will Davies (UI) def. Francisco Vittar (TT): 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(9)
5. Franco Ribero (TT) def. Jason Kerst (UI): 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
6. Bjorn Thomson (TT) def. Matt Clegg (UI): 6-3, 6-4
1. Wynn/Thomson (TT) def. #16 Okonkwo/Davies (UI): 6-4
2. Allaf/Snezhko (UI) vs. Cobb/Valiev (TT): 5-5, unfinished
3. Collier/Vittar (TT) def. Clegg/Tyler (UI): 6-3
Texas Tech: 1-0
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,2,1,3,4,5)