Schwark wins big

The senior won his first collegiate singles championship this weekend.

Zach Eisendrath

Raoul Schwark of the Minnesota men’s tennis team plowed through the singles field at the Princeton Invitational in business-like fashion to win his first collegiate singles championship this weekend.

up next

men’s ita all american championship
when: Tuesday, Oct. 2
where: Tulsa, Okla.

The senior from Dalheim, Germany entered the Gophers’ season-opening tournament with a combination of mild expectations and cautioned optimism, but walked out a winner after beating second-seeded Peter Capkovic of Princeton, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 in Sunday’s final.

Schwark, ranked 41st in the preseason Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, said before the tournament that he just hoped to win a few rounds, despite being nabbed the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.

Those comments proved to be more modest than anything else.

After dropping the first set to Capkovic, ranked 82nd in the ITA rankings, Schwark started to gain confidence by landing his passing shots and putting pressure on his opponent’s forehand.

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Women’s wildcat invitational
when: Friday, Oct. 5
where: Evanston, Ill.

Schwark said he didn’t feel pressure after dropping the first set – on the contrary, he said he felt looser.

Perhaps it was because he had experienced the same situation two days earlier. In his opening round match Friday, Schwark had to fight through three sets against Columbia’s Jonathan Wong.

Schwark had little trouble with Columbia’s Jared Drucker and Yale’s Michael Caldwell on Saturday – beating both men in straight sets.

“I could have lost my first, match, but after that I just got more confident,” he said.

Assistant coach Urban Ljubic, who made the trip to New Jersey with coach Geoff Young entertaining a recruit back on campus, saw that rising confidence firsthand.

He said Schwark did what was expected of him this weekend against predominantly Ivy League players.

“He did his job and played very well,” Ljubic said. “We were expecting a good result from him, winning was not the priority, but we wanted him to play well and that would at least give himself a chance to win the tournament – and he did that. It’s good to see good tennis from him.”

Senior Pierre Dumas and freshman Tobias Wernet were the Gophers’ other two representatives at the tournament.

Wernet edged Dumas 6-4, 6-3 when the teammates faced one another in the top-flight consolation bracket Saturday.

Women shine in doubles

The Minnesota women’s tennis team put forth a solid showing at the three-day, five-team University of New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., over the weekend, winning two out of the three doubles flights at the event.

The tandem of junior Karina Chiarelli and freshman Alessandra Ferrazzi is now 8-0 on the young season after beating New Mexico’s Sandra Zmak and Lucy Scott 8-4 to win the Flight A doubles championship.

The early season play of sophomores Jackie Sperling and Mikayla Rogers has been equally encouraging to coach Tyler Thomson. After a strong showing at the Gopher Invitational last weekend, the duo won the Flight C doubles draw this weekend.

“I’m very happy,” Thomson said of the weekend as a whole. “I think winning two out of three of the flights is a good accomplishment for us.

“I think in doubles we’re making good progress,” he said. “There are still things to iron out in singles, but overall this was a good tournament for us.”