Junior transfer Badr Cherradi will play at No. 1 singles for the Salukis
Feb. 3, 2012
By Tyler Wooten
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Saluki men's tennis team will open the dual match season tomorrow in West Lafayette, Ind., with a doubleheader against Purdue and Butler.
Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
Site: Schwartz Tennis Center
First Serve: 8 a.m. against Purdue; noon against Butler
Southern Illinois: Dann Nelson (Seventh year; 107-80 overall; 88-73 in Division I between Western Illinois and SIU; 70-59 at SIU)
Purdue: Pawel Gajdzik (Third year; 33-38 overall in Division I between Northern Illinois and Purdue; 24-28 at Purdue)
Butler: Jason Suscha (15th year; 202-148 overall in Division I between Vanderbilt and Butler; 198-148 at Butler)
Southern Illinois: The Salukis (0-0, 0-0) went 11-8 in the 2011 dual match campaign.
Purdue: The Boilermakers (1-2, 0-0) defeated No. 63 Princeton, 4-2, on Jan. 29 after falling to two straight ranked opponents - No. 11 Texas A&M (6-1) and No. 68 DePaul (4-3).
Butler: The Bulldogs (0-3, 0-0) have fallen to two ranked opponents thus far - No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 18 (7-0) and No. 74 Wisconsin on Jan. 28 (6-1).
HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING
With the injury to reigning Missouri Valley Freshman of the Year Jorge Cavero, junior Badr Cherradi already had his work cut out for him coming into the dual match season. However, Cherradi - in his first Division I dual match action since transferring from NAIA Shorter University - has faced exceptionally strong competition at Cavero's No. 1 spot, and it doesn't look to get any easier for him this weekend.
Cherradi, a native of Lyon, France, has faced three nationally ranked opponents in singles and one in doubles thus far this season, going 1-2 in singles and 0-1 in doubles. His lone victory came against Wichita State's Mattheus Pereira (No. 66) in two sets, 6-3, 6-4, at the MVC Individual Championships.
"With Jorge out, we had to have some people step up," said Head Coach Dann Nelson. "Badr did a great job for us at the top spot (at the MVC's). There were a lot of people wondering who this new guy we have is."
Cherradi's early challenges will continue tomorrow morning, where he will likely meet No. 105 Mark Kovacs at the No. 1 spot against Purdue.
FLOREZ AND ADMIRAAL KEEP ROLLING
Junior Brandon Florez and freshman Martijn Admiraal -- nationally ranked 42nd in doubles -- got off to a hot start at the MVC Individual Championships in Flight Two, winning their first two matches to advance into the semifinals. But, the duo fell short of their goal of taking home a title, losing for the first time since the ITA Regionals in October to Illinois State's Willi Peter and Jordan Badenko, 9-7.
The Salukis won't have an easy stroll in doubles against either team this weekend. Purdue's No. 1 duo of Szymon Tatarczyk and Aaron Dujovne upset Princeton's Matt Siow and Matt Spindler last weekend, who are ranked 11th in the nation. As for Butler, they have only won the doubles point once this season against Northern Illinois, but the teams they have lost it to were ranked in the Top 75 (Ohio State, No. 3; Wisconsin, No. 74).
SUCCESS IN WEST LAFAYETTE
The last time the Salukis ventured into Boilermaker country was in September of 2010 for the Purdue Invitational, where the Salukis took home the Flight A singles title.
Freshman Adam Fabik defeated foes from Iowa, Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Purdue en route to taking the Flight A crown in his first collegiate action.
Also excelling for the Salukis was then-senior Falk De Beenhouwer, who advanced to the finals of Flight C singles by beating opponents from Valparaiso, Purdue and DePaul, before falling to Arkansas' Mike Nott in the title match.