Vlad Lobek redeems himself with dual-clinching victory

The Gophers bounced back on Sunday from a 4-3 loss to Indiana on Sunday

Freshman Vlad Lobak returns the ball during his doubles match with partner Eli Ogilvy against the University of Pennsylvania at the Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Jack Rodgers

Freshman Vlad Lobak returns the ball during his doubles match with partner Eli Ogilvy against the University of Pennsylvania at the Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday, Feb. 25.

by Max Biegert

Freshman Vlad Lobek forced a third set on Friday in Indiana, but could not win the final match of the day to get the victory for the Gophers. 

On Sunday, however, he redeemed himself and earned the important fourth point for the Gophers. 

Minnesota (12-6, 5-2) lost to Indiana (11-10, 4-3) 4-3 on Friday night in Bloomington, Indiana. Then, the Gophers bounced back on Sunday morning against Purdue (9-13, 1-6) by winning 5-2 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Lobek, from the No. 5 position, won the clinching fourth point for the Gophers 3-6, 6-0, 7-5 versus Purdue.

The loss marks the first time Minnesota has fallen in a road conference bout. Indiana built itself a lead when it took the doubles point and then hung on to win three singles matches to clinch the victory. 

“I thought we missed some chances in the doubles that we normally capitalize on,” head coach Geoff Young said. “I give Indiana credit, we normally get one from the numbers four through six, but they took care of us there.”

Senior Felix Corwin and junior Josip Krstanovic dropped their match in the No. 1 doubles spot 3-6. Indiana clinched the doubles point from the No. 3 position, beating the duo of Stefan Milicevic and Marino Alpeza 7-5. 

Minnesota grabbed two quick victories in the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots to take an early 2-1 lead in the dual. First, the No. 86-ranked Matic Spec won 6-3, 6-2 and then No. 101 Corwin won 6-2, 6-4. 

Indiana earned two victories of its own in the No. 5 and No. 4 spots to regain the lead in the dual, making it 3-2. Ogilvy lost 4-6, 3-6 and then Krstanovic lost 2-6, 6-7 (1-7). 

Milicevic kept the Gophers alive, winning his match in a hard-fought two-setter contest. The victory pulled the dual even at three, which set the stage for Lobek to try and win the clinching point. 

Lobek lost the first set 2-6, but the freshman from Ukraine dug deep and forced a third set, winning the second set 6-3. His momentum ran out, however, and Indiana claimed the dual victory after Lobek lost the third set 4-6. 

“It was a good example of how things can turn, and if you are not at your hundred percent every day or take matches lightly, it can go bad,” Spec said. 

Minnesota beats Purdue

Minnesota took the doubles point from Purdue to jump-start the day. Spec and Milicevic moved to 2-0 on the weekend in singles. Minnesota sits in fourth place in the Big Ten after the victory. 

“Each time Lobek plays, he gets a little better,” Young said. “He played better in spots, especially in the second set, and when it got close he was the one to pull it out and clinch it for us.”

“Our team bounced back well, we got off to a good start with doubles and with the singles matches we were able to get out to a big lead and not look back,” Young said. 

One of the duos to bounce back against Purdue was Corwin and Krstanovic. They won their match 6-2 to clinch the doubles point. Since teaming up last weekend, Corwin and Krstanovic are 3-1 in competition. Alpeza and Milicevic got the first victory of the day, winning 6-4. 

Spec extended the lead in the dual to 2-0 after winning 7-5, 6-1. Freshman Jackson Allen, who started in place of Ogilvy came out with a victory in the No. 6 position 6-3, 6-2. 

Milicevic added another victory in a hard fought three-setter by a score of 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.