The UConn men’s tennis team suffered a tight 4-3 loss to Villanova on Saturday at the Magic Lincer Tennis Club in Manchester. The Huskies fell to 7-6 on the season, while the Wildcats improved to 7-2.
UConn continued its solid play in doubles matches, claiming the doubles point for the third straight outing to take an early 1-0 lead over Villanova.
“We played the pressure points with decisiveness and confidence,” associate head coach Reinaldo Valor said. “The guys are playing great team doubles, winning the last five-out-of-six doubles points.”
Justin Warren and freshman Christian Provenzano lost 7-5 at third doubles, but senior Hank Hill and sophomore Yili Zheng earned their 5th straight win as a partnership at first doubles with a 7-5 victory. At second doubles, senior Jack McLister and sophomore John Holtmann gutted out a 7-6 (7-4) tiebreak win to clinch the doubles point for the Huskies.
In singles play, the Huskies quickly dropped the first three matches and fell behind 3-1 in the match. Provenzano lost 6-0, 6-1 at No. 6, Warren fell 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5, and Hill dropped a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) decision at third singles. UConn rallied, however, and evened the match as Zheng and Holtmann grinded out three-set victories at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
“Holtmann put together another big win at No. 2, where he has been playing high level tennis,” stated Valor. “Yili stepped up with one of his best performances of the season to tie the match at 3-3.”
Holtmann held on for a 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-1 win, while Zheng earned the match-tying point with a nearly identical score, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-1.
With the match on the line, McLister fought back from a set down at fourth singles, but he ultimately was not able to complete the comeback and fell 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as the Wildcats took the match 4-3.
UConn will travel to Boston University to take on the Terriers on Saturday, March 2.
Story Salit is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.