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Purdue Tennis Plus: Big Ten Tournament Edition

I know that this structure is a bit different than the one I normally use here, but circumstances with work prevented me from posting on my typical timetable. Barring a sudden rule change that forces Purdue into this NCAA Tournament, this is the end of Purdue tennis for the school year. The end of the season provided a cap for how this season has gone: glimpses of promise, but a failure to execute when necessary.

Men’s Results:

4/23: FINAL—#28 Northwestern 4, Purdue 0

#1 Doubles

1

Bennett/Brancatelli (PUR)

6

Forman/Nordby (NU)

1

#2 Doubles

1

Galus/Wozniak (PUR)

1

Berdusco/Bratholm (NU)

6

#3 Doubles

1

Suzanne/Welch (PUR)

2

Pickens/Spear (NU)

6

#1 Singles

1

2

3

Athell Bennett (PUR)

2

2

#39 Steven Forman (NU)

6

6

#2 Singles

1

2

3

Gabriele Brancatelli (PUR)

6

2

#121 Simen Bratholm (NU)

0

5

*DID NOT FINISH

#3 Singles

1

2

3

Sebastian Welch (PUR)

1

1

#124 Trice Pickens (NU)

6

6

#4 Singles

1

2

3

Rohan Sachdev (PUR)

4

1

Presley Thieneman (NU)

6

6

#5 Singles

1

2

3

Piotr Galus (PUR)

6

4

Felix Nordby (NU)

1

2

*DID NOT FINISH

#6 Singles

1

2

3

Michal Wozniak (PUR)

6

1

Brian Berdusco (NU)

4

4

*DID NOT FINISH

This was not a particularly surprising result. While they have taken a couple of unexpected losses this season, Northwestern was clearly the third best team in the conference, and they were playing at home. In doubles, I was surprised that the duo of Athell Bennett and Gabriele Brancatelli, which had typically been playing at #2 doubles, moved up to #1 doubles and dominated. Meanwhile, Piotr Galus and Michal Wozniak, who had been a relatively competent #1 doubles pairing for most of the season, moved down to #2 doubles and got rocked. There could be some mind games on the part of the coaches. Since Northwestern got a win at #3 doubles, they got the point and that led to singles play. Surprisingly, Purdue actually split the first sets of singles play with the Wildcats, but the momentum didn’t last. Northwestern won the second sets easily where they had won the first sets while mostly turning things around where they had lost the first set, and that pushed them to four team points for the match.

4/24: FINAL—#52 Illinois 4, Purdue 1

#1 Doubles

1

Bennett/Galus (PUR)

6

#60 Heck/Horve (ILL)

1

#2 Doubles

1

Brancatelli/Dudek (PUR)

4

#71 Brown/Guzauskas (ILL)

6

#3 Doubles

1

Welch/Wozniak (PUR)

1

#79 Montsi/Stuart (ILL)

6

#1 Singles

1

2

3

Athell Bennett (PUR)

3

2

#65 Hunter Heck (ILL)

6

6

#2 Singles

1

2

3

Gabriele Brancatelli (PUR)

6

1

Siphosothando Montsi (ILL)

7

2

*DID NOT FINISH

#3 Singles

1

2

3

Sebastian Welch (PUR)

0

0

#61 Olivier Stuart (ILL)

6

6

#4 Singles

1

2

3

Rohan Sachdev (PUR)

6

7

Alex Brown (ILL)

1

5

#5 Singles

1

2

3

Piotr Galus (PUR)

3

3

Nic Meister (ILL)

6

6

#6 Singles

1

2

3

Michal Wozniak (PUR)

6

2

Gabrielius Guzauskas (ILL)

2

5

*DID NOT FINISH

Believe it or not, Purdue had a slight shot to win against Illinois in Champaign for the first time in over thirty years. Unfortunately, they just could not take a few key points, and that prevented them from any upset opportunity. Doubles play was unexpectedly close, especially against three ranked doubles pairings. Coach Gajdzik attempted some new pairings in this match, and some of these might be seen more next season. Ultimately, Illinois was just a bit deeper in doubles, and they won that point. Thanks to a victory in a seven-point tiebreaker, the Fighting Illini won four of the six first sets, and they won three of the four second sets that finished to clinch the match. Rohan Sachdev put up the lone team point for the Boilermakers in a major upset over Alex Brown. Brown was on the All-Big Ten First Team from 2018-2020, made the NCAA Singles Tournament in 2019, and was an ITA Singles All-American in the limited 2020 season. He’s been a bit cold this season, but this is still a huge upset that gives me more confidence in Sachdev’s future.

Women’s Results:

4/23: FINAL—#45 Wisconsin 4, Purdue 3

#1 Doubles

1

#70 Cai/Mukhortova (WIS)

7

Fodor/Gasparin (PUR)

5

#2 Doubles

1

Johnson/Markham (WIS)

6

Galindo/Milic (PUR)

7

#3 Doubles

1

Larrain/Stoica (WIS)

4

Gallardo Guevara/Shimizu (PUR)

6

#1 Singles

1

2

3

#88 Ava Markham (WIS)

1

2

#71 Csilla Fodor (PUR)

6

6

#2 Singles

1

2

3

Alina Mukhortova (WIS)

7

6

Carmen Gallardo Guevara (PUR)

6

3

#3 Singles

1

2

3

Xinyu Cai (WIS)

7

6

Tara Milic (PUR)

5

1

#4 Singles

1

2

3

Antonela Stoica (WIS)

6

4

6

Rut Galindo (PUR)

2

6

4

#5 Singles

1

2

3

Taylor Cataldi (WIS)

4

4

Juana Larranaga (PUR)

6

6

#6 Singles

1

2

3

Charmaine Seah (WIS)

7

6

Seira Shimizu (PUR)

5

3

Despite a stunning point in doubles play, Purdue could not take advantage of their situation and fell short of an upset to start their last regular season weekend. Doubles play has been an issue for the Boilermakers all season, highlighted by losing the point to Rutgers about a week prior. However, thanks in part to Wisconsin using some lesser-used pairings, Purdue was able to claw out the doubles point at the very end. With this point in hand, all Purdue needed to do was split the singles points to take a solid win and hopefully provide some momentum for the end of the season. Unfortunately, the momentum swung back in Wisconsin’s favor in the first sets, four of which were decided by two games or fewer. Of those close sets, three of them went to Wisconsin, including all three that required a seventh game. Things were much more defined in the second set, and once all of the second sets were done, the match was tied at three team points each. It all came down to #4 singles, where Rut Galindo faced a tall task against a player more used to playing in the top half of the singles lineup. She gave it a good effort but fell just a bit short.

4/24: FINAL—#60 Minnesota 4, Purdue 1

#1 Doubles

1

Duong/Ercetin (MINN)

3

Fodor/Gasparin (PUR)

4

*DID NOT FINISH

#2 Doubles

1

Hanford/Said (MINN)

6

Galindo/Milic (PUR)

1

#3 Doubles

1

Lu/Rizzolo (MINN)

6

Gallardo Guevara/Shimizu (PUR)

3

#1 Singles

1

2

3

Rachel Hanford (MINN)

6

3

6

#71 Csilla Fodor (PUR)

4

6

4

#2 Singles

1

2

3

Emilee Duong (MINN)

4

5

Carmen Gallardo Guevara (PUR)

6

7

#3 Singles

1

2

3

Ekin Ercetin (MINN)

6

6

Tara Milic (PUR)

4

1

#4 Singles

1

2

3

Maria Rizzolo (MINN)

2

7

5

Rut Galindo (PUR)

6

6

4

*DID NOT FINISH

#5 Singles

1

2

3

Vasia Karvouni (MINN)

2

6

2

Juana Larranaga (PUR)

6

1

5

*DID NOT FINISH

#6 Singles

1

2

3

Dalila Said (MINN)

7

6

Seira Shimizu (PUR)

6

4

It was another disappointing loss to finish off the regular season for Purdue’s women’s tennis team. After giving Wisconsin a major struggle the previous day, I was confident that Purdue would be able to lock down one more win before the Big Ten Tournament, but that just did not happen. Minnesota clearly outplayed Purdue in doubles play, but based on Purdue’s season history, I was not too concerned. Wisconsin has been better than Minnesota in singles play this season, so I was confident that Purdue had a shot of winning four singles points. The two teams split the first sets evenly, which was less than ideal, but still not horrible for the Boilermakers’ outlook. However, Minnesota won four of the second sets, giving themselves a 3-1 edge going into the last sets. A little over a year after losing to Ena Babic at the very last minute in a close Purdue win, Rachel Hanford clinched the victory for the Gophers by upsetting Csilla Fodor at #1 singles, and the match ended directly afterward. To be frank, it is just disappointing how many times Purdue had opportunities to take care of business and failed to do so over the course of this season.

Tournament Structure:

This is the Men’s Tennis Tournament bracket: