Daily Egyptian

Dawgs split two matches at home

By Tony McDaniel

The Saluki men’s tennis team competed in two of three matches in its final home stand of the season with a tough loss followed by a dominating win.

SIU (9-10) returned home to University Courts after a five-match road trip where the Salukis were only able to salvage one win. On Friday, the Salukis welcomed Missouri Valley Conference opponent Wichita State University.

They fought hard in their match against the 73rd-ranked Shockers, but fell 5-2.

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In doubles, the Salukis’ No. 1 pair, sophomore Jonny Rigby and freshman Michal Kianicka, defeated WSU’s top duo, sophomore Tin Ostojic and junior Tomislav Gregurovic, 8-4. The Salukis did not follow up Rigby and Kianicka’s victory with a win at two or three doubles, which surrendered the point to Wichita.

The Salukis had their chances to score points during singles, but could not keep up.

“They fought hard to the last point,” coach Dann Nelson said. “We have a couple of guys not feeling 100 percent, but at this time of year no one is 100 percent. So you’ve got to bring it every time, and our guys did. We just came up a little short today.”

Saturday, the Salukis bounced back with a 7-0 win over the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University.

SIU set the tone during doubles play with wins in all three matches.

The Dawgs dominated singles and won all six matches in straight sets. Cavero stepped in for Rigby at No. 1 singles to allow Rigby to rest. Cavero defeated sophomore Christoph Haertel 6-0, 6-1.

Cavero has now won 12 of his last 13 singles matches, and said he didn’t approach his first try at the No. 1 spot any differently than he would another match.

“Yeah I was playing No. 1, but I didn’t feel any pressure at all,” Cavero said. “I just stepped on the court, played my strategy and did everything I should. Things went my way.”

At No. 2 singles, Kianicka won his second-straight match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over sophomore Mitch Granger.

Kianicka’s two wins came after three-straight losses. He said he was pleased to be back on a winning streak this late in the season.

“I wanted in the beginning of the season to have my best matches in conference,” Kianicka said. “Thank God I’m doing well so far in conference and I hope it will go on a little while.”

Junior Szymon Opieczonek won his match 6-0, 6-0 and senior Rafael Cuadrillero defeated junior Brandon Meeker 6-1, 6-2. Freshmen Jeremy Dixon and Filip Aleksic grabbed the last two points for the Salukis.

The Salukis will play their final home match of the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Illinois State University.

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