EVANSTON, Ill. – Just a few hours after moving up in the polls to a season-best ranking of 22nd, Vanderbilt’s men’s tennis team lived up to its new ranking with a decisive 6-1 victory over No. 71 Northwestern at the Combe Tennis Center.
Playing its final non-conference match of the season, Vanderbilt (9-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) earned its second win in three days after defeating No. 68 South Carolina, 4-3, on Sunday. Northwestern (6-8, 0-2 Big Ten) has now lost four straight matches, while Vanderbilt moved its record to 3-1 against the Big Ten this season.
After winning the doubles point, Vanderbilt was able to take a 2-0 lead in the match as Northbrook, Ill., native Ryan Preston returned to the college just a few miles from his hometown to defeat Northwestern’s Marc Dwyer in the No. 1 position. Preston won the match, 6-4, 6-1, giving him his sixth straight victory.
Playing in the singles lineup for just the second time this spring, Adam Baker improved to 2-0 in dual play and gave Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead in the match with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Northwestern’s Juan Gomez in the No. 6 position.
Clinching the match for the Commodores was Alex Zotov, who halted a three-match skid with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Andrew McCarthy in the No. 5 position. The match was Zotov’s first of his career in the No. 5 position.
Giving Vanderbilt a 5-0 advantage in the match was Bryant Salcedo, who defeated Alexander Thams, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. The win was Salcedo’s first in the No. 3 position and he is now 1-3 in the position.
Following Salcedo’s win, Northwestern earned its lone point, as No. 82 Vijay Paul was dealt a 7-6(4), 1-6, 1-0(10-4) loss to Northwestern’s Alex Sanborn. The final set was played to a 10-point tiebreaker because Vanderbilt had already clinched the match.
Vanderbilt’s final point came from Evan Dufaux, who battled back from a one-set deficit for the second straight match. After losing the first set Dufaux rallied to defeat Peter Rispoli, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the No. 4 position. The match was Dufaux’s first of the spring in the No. 4 position.
For the second match in a row, Vanderbilt won the doubles point. The Commodores took all three of the doubles matches.
Vanderbilt will now face its first road SEC test of the season on Friday when the Commodores travel to No. 69 Arkansas for a 1 p.m. match.
No. 22 Vanderbilt (9-2, 1-1 SEC) def No. 71 Northwestern (6-8, 0-2 Big Ten), 6-1
Combe Tennis Center
1. Ryan Preston/Evan Dufaux (VU) def. Alex Sanborn/Marc Dwyer (NU), 8-4
2. Nick Cromydas/Bryant Salcedo (VU) def. Peter Rispoli/Andrew McCarthy (NU), 8-2
3. Vijay Paul/Adam Baker (VU) def. Alexander Thams/David Seyferth (NU), 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. No. 65 Ryan Preston (VU) def. Marc Dwyer (NU), 6-4, 6-1
2. Alex Sanborn (NU) def. No. 82 Vijay Paul (VU), 7-6(4), 1-6, 1-0(10-4)
3. Bryant Salcedo (VU) def. Alexander Thams (NU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-0
4. Evan Dufaux (VU) def. Peter Rispoli (NU), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
5. Alex Zotov (VU) def. Andrew McCarthy (NU), 7-5, 6-4
6. Adam Baker (VU) def. Juan Gomez (NU), 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4