April 24, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 61 Michigan State men's tennis team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament with its 4-0 win over Nebraska on Thursday at the MSU Outdoor Courts. Seeded eighth, the Spartans (12-13, 5-6 Big Ten) overpowered the ninth-seeded Cornhuskers and will move on to face top-seeded Ohio State on Friday at 10 a.m. at the MSU Outdoor Courts.
MSU has won its last three matches in a row and its last four of five dating back to the regular season.
Under cool and breezy conditions, the Spartans defeated Nebraska for the second time this season as they won 4-3 on March 28 in East Lansing. MSU also took down Nebraska for the second straight season in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
MSU opened up the match strong in doubles, claiming the doubles point for the 13th time of the season and improving to 12-1 (.923) when doing so. Juniors Gijs Linders and Harry Jadun earned the first win for the Spartans, 8-2, by defeating Dusty Boyer and Marc Herrmann on court two. Linders and Jadun grabbed their 11th win of the spring season. Senior Aaron Pfister and freshman Brett Forman clinched the doubles point with their 8-2 dismantling of Scott Elsass and Tom Blackwell on court three. Pfister and Forman won their 11th match of the spring season and have won their last five in a row.
"We're here to try and play as long as we can and advance and move on," head coach Gene Orlando said. "The doubles point was big, we got on them early and we were able to close it out. Getting on top of the guys early, especially in a tournament format is important."
MSU won three straight singles matches to close the match out. Jadun won his fifth straight match and his ninth of the spring by defeating Brandon Videtich 6-2, 6-0 on court six to give MSU a 2-0 lead.
Behind its two senior co-captains MSU was able to deliver the finishing blow. Pfister pushed the lead up to 3-0 as he took down Tom Blackwell on court three, 6-3, 6-4.
"My forehand and my serve, I was just going for some one-two punches with that," Pfister said. "Tom's a tough player to play with tough defense. I knew I was going to be challenged that way so I did well getting up a break in both sets and solidifying it the rest of the set and closing down both sets on my serve."
Drew Lied finished off the Cornhuskers with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Dusty Boyer on the No. 1 singles court. Lied trailed 3-0 early in the first set, but came back to win six of the next seven games and then cruised to a second set win.
"I think just fighting hard, and getting to the net when I can, getting aggressive when I can," Lied said of his play on No. 1 singles. "Overall just competing hard and good things happen when you just compete."
MSU moves on to face top-seeded and No. 2 nationally ranked Ohio State on Friday at 10 a.m. The only loss for the Spartans at home this season was to the Buckeyes, who defeated MSU 5-2 on March 23. MSU narrowly lost the doubles point, falling in a tiebreaker in the deciding match on court one. Pfister and sophomore John Patrick Mullane picked up the two singles wins for the Spartans on the day on courts two and three, respectively.
"We believe," Orlando said. "We've won four of our last five and the last three here at home. We look forward to the opportunity to play Ohio State tomorrow. It's the only team that's beaten us (at home) so it's a little bit more of a revenge and this is our chance to make our run."