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Sports Tennis

Drake works the night shift to best Butler 7-0, improve to 10-1

Photo: Taylor Soule

The No. 62 Drake men’s tennis team extended its winning streak to nine straight matches last Saturday as it bested the Butler Bulldogs 7-0. Drake, coming off two huge wins over Nebraska and Idaho, pushed its record to 10-1 on the season. Butler dropped to 1-11 with the loss.

Drake simply outmatched Butler from the start, sweeping all three doubles matches in decisive fashion. Juniors James McKie and Anis Ghorbel teamed up at the top spot and garnered a quick 8-3 victory. Junior Jean Erasmus and sophomore Robin Goodman followed suit, as the duo clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 victory. Senior Cesar Bracho and freshman Ben Mullis formed the third doubles team, which won its match 8-5.

Five of the six singles matches were in quick straight sets. The quickest matches were at the third, fourth and fifth courts. McKie was the first to finish and push the lead to 2-0 for the Bulldogs, as the junior won 6-1, 6-0 at the third singles position. Goodman’s match was equally one-sided with a 6-0, 6-2 score line.

Mullis, who usually plays at the sixth singles position for the Bulldogs, clinched the victory with a 6-1, 6-1 win at the fifth position.

Bracho and Ghorbel also posted straight-set wins at the sixth and first singles spots, respectively. The final match of the evening, Erasmus against Butler’s Tommy Marx, went to three sets to keep the two teams at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center late into the night. After winning the first set 6-4, Erasmus wasn’t able to capitalize in the second as he dropped the second set by an identical score. The match was then decided in a third set super-tiebreaker to 10 points in lieu of a complete third set. The level play extended into this set as well, but it was Erasmus who pulled away 10-8.

“The match was a good one to get the rhythm back,” Ghorbel said. “We didn’t really play our best tennis, but we fought hard to win.”

The Bulldogs are now looking forward to their next match, a Wednesday night matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Drake is hoping that its current win streak will give the team plenty of momentum heading into Wednesday.

“A 7-0 win is definitely good for our confidence,” said Ghorbel. “Drake and Iowa is always a battle, and we just need to focus and have two good days of practice before the big game.”

Despite having lost the last three meetings against the Hawkeyes, the nationally ranked Bulldogs will be the favorites this year. Iowa is only 1-6 on the season with its lone win coming against George Washington.

Wednesday’s match will begin at 6 p.m. at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center with pizza for fans being provided by the Bulldogs.

“We’re all looking forward to the Iowa match on Wednesday night, and we will be confident to get the win,” McKie said.

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