FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas men’s tennis (5-0) team faces No. 24 Northwestern (3-1) on Saturday in the ITA Kickoff Weekend as part of a four-team regional hosted by Michigan. The Razorbacks will take on the Wildcats at 1 p.m. CT at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor and either No. 4 Michigan or Cal Poly on Sunday.
The winners of Saturday’s matches will face off on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT with a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on the line. The National Indoor Championships will be held Feb. 10-13 in Seattle, Wash. at the University of Washington. The championship match will be preceded by the consolation match at 9 a.m. CT.
The Razorbacks have started the season strong at 5-0 with sweeps over Lamar and Oral Roberts and other victories over San Diego State, UC San Diego, and Wichita State. Arkansas has also taken the doubles point in each of their first five matches. Freshman Gerard Planelles Ripoll from Alicante, Spain, is 5-0 in singles play this season. Junior Melvin Manuel is also undefeated in singles, posting a 4-0 record at the No. 3 position. Planelles Ripoll and Manuel have lost two sets combined in singles matches this season.
The Wildcats are off to a 3-1 start this spring with wins over Notre Dame, No. 19 NC State, and Chicago State. Northwestern is led by No. 97 Ivan Yatsuk and No. T-110 Trice Pickens, who have both started their seasons unbeaten at the No. 1/2 and No. 2/4 positions respectively. Pickens is 3-0 in doubles with partner Natan Spear at the No. 2/3 positions, helping earn the doubles point in two matches. Pickens and Spear defeated No. 21 Rafa Izquierdo Luque/Joseph Wayand from NC State earlier this season.
The No. 4 Wolverines have opened their season at 4-0, including three sweeps and a dominating win over No. 6 Tennessee. Michigan has four ranked singles players and two ranked doubles pairs in the ITA Rankings. No. 6 Andrew Fenty is 2-1 in singles at the No. 2 position and No. 16 Ondrej Styler is 2-0 at the No. 1/3 positions, including a victory against No. 81 Emile Hudd from Tennessee in straight sets. The duo of Fenty and Gavin Young are ranked No. 14 nationally and hold a 1-0 record.
Cal Poly will kick off their season this weekend after an impressive 15-6 campaign last year, resulting in their second straight Big West regular season championship. The Mustangs are headlined by No. 55 Noah Berry, who finished 13-4 at the No. 1 position. The doubles tandem of Berry and Fernando Fonseca went 13-5 last season for Cal Poly and look to continue their dominance into the 2023 season.
Live stats and video can be found on the men’s tennis schedule page.
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