Iowa's Will Davies wails a backhand during a tennis match between Iowa and Western Michigan in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. The Hawkeyes earned the doubles point but lost the match overall, 5-2. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Men’s tennis win in Big Ten opener


The Iowa men’s tennis team kicks off Big Ten play with a victory against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

by Lauren Jimmerson

The No. 40 ranked Iowa men’s tennis team crushed Nebraska in its Big Ten opener on Sunday 6-1 at the Hawkeye Tennis Complex.

Will Davies and Piotr Smietana, the 51st-ranked doubles team, kicked things off for Iowa. The pair swept Nebraska’s No. 3 tandem, followed by a 6-1 win by Iowa’s Joe Tyler and Jake Jacoby — their fourth straight this season.

Kareem Allaf and Jonas Larsen, the 54th-ranked doubles team, left their match unfinished tied at 5.

Nebraska’s Linus Erhart snagged the only Husker point in singles over Allaf (7-5, 6-4). Tyler reached doubles digits in singles wins for the season, picking up the second point for Iowa (6-3, 6-1), followed by Larsen (6-3, 6-2).

Davies won his eighth-consecutive match over Nebraska’s Chris Dean (6-1, 6-4). The freshman has secured wins in straight sets in seven of his eight matches.

Smietana started his match strong, taking a 3-1 lead before Nebraska’s Dylan Bednarczyk retired because of an injury.

Larsen clinched the match for the Hawkeyes after a long-fought battle. He defeated William Grattan Smith of Nebraska (6-3, 6-2).

Last to finish for the Hawkeyes was senior Josh Silverstein. After dropping the first set (6-4), Silverstein bounced back to claim the second (6-2). The senior prevailed in the third (10-8), to claim his first Big Ten victory.

Assistant coach Matt Hagan was upbeat after the Hawkeye victory.

“[Sunday] was a lot of fun,” he said in a release. “We came out and competed at every spot, and we played well. Seniors Jake Jacoby and Josh Silverstein get their last Big Ten opener wins, and you have to feel good about that. Today’s win really set the tone for the rest of the season.”

The Hawkeyes traveled to the Hogan Tennis Center in San Diego on March 12, falling (4-2) to No. 31 Texas Tech.

Iowa once again took the doubles point — only the fifth Texas Tech opponent to do so this season. Allaf and Larsen claimed a victory (6-2), as did Tyler and Jacoby (6-1), securing the early team lead.

Smietana and Davies fell behind (4-3) against the 70th-ranked duo Jackson Cobb and Alex Sendegeya, before the match was left unfinished.

Davies grabbed the only other Iowa point throughout the match. The freshman conquered Cobb (6-2, 6-4).

Texas Tech claimed the remainder of the singles matches.

Silverstein fell first to the Red Raiders (6-2, 6-3), followed by Smietana, who dropped the first set tie-breaker and lost the second (6-4). Allaf and Tyler competed for three sets, but eventually Texas Tech seized both singles points to clinch the match.

“Texas Tech is a well-coached team and very talented,” said head coach Ross Wilson in a release. “We played well in doubles and lost three close three-set matches. The guys competed well. I really like where our team is at going into the Big Ten season.”

The No. 42 Hawkeyes will continue Big Ten play against Minnesota on March 23 at the Hawkeye Tennis Complex at 3 p.m.

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