Just two months into his first semester at the University of Minnesota, freshman Felix Corwin holds the title of Big Ten indoor champion.
Corwin, who didn’t lose a set during the entire tournament, faced off against fellow freshman and teammate Matic Spec in the championship match.
Corwin is the first men’s tennis player to win the title since 2003.
“It’s pretty cool to win the tournament,” he said. “But I’m really just excited for the spring. It makes me even more excited to know that we’re doing really well — playing my teammate in the final.”
Spec and Corwin maneuvered their way through the singles competition that started Saturday and concluded Monday afternoon.
Corwin had no trouble dispatching Iowa freshman Josh Silverstein in the semfinals, defeating him in straight sets.
Spec, on the other hand, went head-to-head with Nebraska’s Dusty Boyer, who was seeded as the No. 1 player in the tournament.
“He’s a good player,” Gophers head coach Geoff Young said of Boyer. “He’s very steady, and he does everything well on the court.”
After taking care of business in the first set, Spec lost traction and fell to Boyer in the second set 6-1.
But Spec said he wasn’t too concerned with the score.
“We were close the entire time,” Spec said. “He hit some huge forehands and made some really good shots.”
Spec rediscovered his groove in the final set and dominated Boyer on his way to a 6-1 victory.
“It was a big test for Matic,” Young said. “He had a couple of big tests before reaching the final, and he overcame them both.”
Minnesota also fared well in its doubles competition on Friday, finishing with a combined 7-3 record against the pairings it played.
“With the Big Ten teams in town, that’s very exciting,” Young said. “I thought our guys did a pretty good job of coming out and competing well.”
But at the end of the tournament, the real story was the Gophers freshman talent.
“I was very excited even before [the freshmen] got here,” Young said. “I knew they were good players. … But since they’ve been here, it’s just really confirmed that.”
Women play at Big Green
The women’s team took home five victories over the weekend at the Big Green Invitational in New Hampshire.
“I think we wanted to get way more [victories] than that,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “I was just pleased overall [with] how we competed.”
Junior Kendall Heitzner accounted for two of the wins, one in singles and one in doubles.
“She played really well,” Merzbacher said. “She’s kind of had an up-and-down fall with her … nagging leg injuries. So I think it was good for her to see how she would do [in those matches].”
Like the men’s team, the women won’t compete until two months from now. But Merzbacher said he’s happy with where the team ended its fall season.
“We’re competing pretty well,” Merzbacher said. “The kids have worked on their game … so I think we’re in good shape right now.”