Saturday, January 23, 2021

Michigan State tennis feasts on Ball State, winning 4-2

January 25, 2020
Sophomore Ivan Rakic hits the ball during a singles match at the MSU Tennis Center on Jan. 12, 2019.
Sophomore Ivan Rakic hits the ball during a singles match at the MSU Tennis Center on Jan. 12, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

“Uber Eats is here, it is time to feast!”  

Michigan State sophomore Jack Winkler screamed that from the sideline of today’s early morning tennis match today as MSU feasted on Ball State, 4-2. 

However, in doubles, the Cardinals were the ones feasting as they won all three matches in blowout fashion. In the first two games, all three Ball State pairings won, getting out to a blazing start 2-0 start in their sets. MSU coach Gene Orlando was shocked at the way Ball State came out in this one. 

"They got on top of us early,” coach Orlando said. “We kind of got backed on our heels, they played so aggressively and we never threw a punch back.” 

The most contested match in doubles was between MSU’s Jarreau Campbell and Drew Keene and Ball State’s Danilo Kovacevic and Parrish Simmons. Orlando kept a very close eye on this one, never taking his eye off his No. 2 doubles.  

After getting out to a 2-0 start in the set, Campbell and Keene mounted a furious comeback effort, trimming the lead to 4-3. However, Kovacevic and Simmons were on a mission today, and took a 5-3 set lead after securing the final point when the game was tied 40-40 in the eighth set. The match was ended early however, as MSU’s pairings of John Carlin/Anthony Pero and Josh Mukherjee/Kazuki Matsuno both lost their doubles matches, allowing Ball State to secure the doubles point. 

Then it was time for the Spartans to feast. 

In singles, the Spartans had some strong performances across the board especially from Sophomore Carson Gates, who had the match of his life. He defeated Ball State’s Thibault de Negri 6-1 and 6-2. At one point, Gates was feeling himself and blew on his hands because he felt he was getting too hot. 

“I was getting really hot,” said Gates. “He got a drop shot and I ran up to and I got a sick passing shot around the net post and that was a good recap of the day ... I think I am going to have to pull a video from the play side system and watch that one again.” 

Orlando was pleased with the play of the Kansas City native.

“He felt really good today and I think he liked that matchup.” Orlando said. “It was his day, he played well, everything seemed to be going his way.” 

Matsuno and Mukherjee were able to bounce back from their loss in doubles by winning both of their matches, leaving it up to John Carlin to secure a victory.  

However, with Campbell losing his match in the first two sets and Pero being all knotted up in the second period, Carlin had to capitalize in his match for the Spartans to win. 

Carlin had to battle for a win today as Ball State’s Kovacevic gave him a run for his money in today’s action. In the first set, Carlin was all knotted up with Kovacevic early, then he secured a crucial point to get a 5-4 advantage as Kovacevic sailed one over the backline. 

The first set went into an extra game, and Carlin dominated winning 7-6 Carlin, with all the attention on him, had the ability to secure a comeback win for the Spartans if he won the second set. His experience came through as he won the second set 6-4. 

The Spartans will look to continue feasting in their matchup tonight versus the Niagara Purple Eagles. 

“We’re going to get a good meal, go home, come back and get warmed up, and hopefully get the doubles point this time and just keep it rolling.” 




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