The Notre Dame men’s tennis team only had one match on the schedule for this weekend but made the most of it with a tight 4-3 victory over Western Michigan.
The doubles point would start with the top team Sebastian Dominko and Connor Fu jumping out to a break in the opening game and they would hold on for a 6-4 win at #1. The #2 team Matt Che and Yu Zhang would drop serve for the only break of the set in the 9th game and the Broncos would hold to tie it up 1-1. Coming down to #3, Matt Halpin and Evan Lee would play an extended set and force a tiebreaker after saving two match points at 5-6. Unfortunately, they would be on the wrong end of the breaker and the doubles point would go to Western Michigan.
In singles, Connor Fu would quickly even things up with a routine 6-3, 6-4 win at #4 singles. His classmate, Matt Che, would give the Irish the first lead of the day with a 7-6(5), 6-3 over his 5th year opponent. The last match on that side of the building would go the way of Western Michigan as Noah Becker would fall 6-3, 7-5.
With the match tied 2-2, attention would turn to the odd numbered singles courts where Notre Dame would win two of the three first sets. Vashistha would drop his match at the #3 spot meaning the Irish would need to win both courts they were ahead in to come from behind and win the match. Sebastian Dominko would continue his good run of form at the top position and win 6-3, 7-6 on a screaming inside out forehand return winner.
All knotted up at 3-3, eyes were on Sophomore Yu Zhang and court #5 where the team match would be decided. After a first set tiebreak that Zhang would win, he would get behind early in the second. But after fighting to break back and then nose ahead at 5-4, Zhang would hold serve to win his match and give the Irish a 4-3 last match on victory.
Notre Dame will head south to Lexington, Kentucky to play ITA Kickoff Weekend. They will play Friday, January 27th against Washington in the opening round at 5pm. Host Kentucky will take on Liberty in the other opening match. A second match will be played on Saturday regardless of Friday’s outcome. The team that wins both matches will advance to the ITA National Indoors hosted by the University of Illinois later in February. The Irish have qualified for National Indoors 3 times since Ryan Sachire became the head coach, most recently in 2019.
Notre Dame 4 – Western Michigan…