Men upset Virginia Tech, women defeat Wisconsin

The women won their ninth consecutive match to surpass last year’s win total.

Charlie Armitz

Winning is a habit and losing is a habit.

Few teams understand that better than the Gophers women’s tennis team.

No. 30 Minnesota won its sixth-straight match Sunday, defeating No. 60 Wisconsin 5-2 in Madison, Wis., in its conference opener.

The Gophers had losing streaks of four and eight matches during their 2011 campaign, which they finished with an 8-16 record. They have already won nine matches to start 2012, with their lone loss Feb. 5 at home to then-No. 28 Washington.

Alexa Palen won 7-5, 7-6 (3) at second singles Sunday to improve to 9-0 this season, and the Gophers closed the match with four consecutive victories after falling behind 2-1.

Natallia Pintusava won 6-4, 6-2 in her return to No. 1 singles to tie the match at 2-2.

Tereza Brichacova then won 6-1, 7-5 at No. 6 singles — her fifth consecutive win — before Palen clinched the match with her fifth win of the season at No. 2 singles.

Julia Courter and Doron Muravnik added victories at No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively. Muravnik lost the first set 6-4 but won the second set in a tiebreaker and the third set in a super tiebreaker.

Minnesota has won five of six matches this season against ranked opponents, and it is 3-0 on the road.

Men upset Virginia Tech

The road had been an unfriendly place for the Gophers men’s tennis team in 2012 — until Saturday.

No. 66 Minnesota upset No. 40 Virginia Tech 4-3 in Blacksburg, Va., to win its fourth consecutive match and first on the road in four tries.

Minnesota trailed 3-2 when Rok Bonin (No. 2 singles) and Leandro Toledo (No. 3 singles) each won decisive third sets to complete comebacks from one set down.

Playing one spot up from his regular No. 3 position, Bonin rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Toledo, who normally plays No. 2 singles, lost the first set 2-6 but won the second set 6-4 and the third set 6-2.

At No. 1 singles, Phillip Arndt lost 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to 68th-ranked Luka Somen. Arndt has competed well in most of his matches this season, but he has just a 3-5 record to show for it.

Jack Hamburg won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 5 singles — his fourth consecutive win — to give the Gophers a 2-1 edge.

Minnesota won the doubles point with victories at all three doubles positions, but Wisconsin quickly pulled even when Mauricio Antun defeated Julian Dehn 6-2, 6-3 at No. 4 singles.

The men’s team (5-3)  plays Drake on Friday in Rochester, Minn., while the women’s team (9-1) has a bye week before playing at Tulane on March 15.