PHILADELPHIA - The last time the men's tennis team had a home match was over a month ago, on Feb. 25 in a 4-3 win over Buffalo. After seven games on the road throughout the month of March, the Quakers are finally back at home again. They will host No. 58 St. John's this Wednesday at 3 p.m. in their last non-conference match before Ivy play. Weather permitting, the match will be the team's first at the brand new Hamlin Tennis Center Courts at Penn Park.
Penn (8-4) last played over a week and a half ago when the Red and Blue went 1-1 on a weekend trip in Virginia, losing to Old Dominion, 4-3, before recovering with a 6-1 victory at William & Mary. The Quakers captured the doubles point in both matches, and did so for the fifth straight time. The sophomore tandem of Ivan Turudic and Nikola Kocovic improved to 7-2 together this spring after triumphing in their matches at No. 1 doubles.
In singles, both senior Jason Lin and freshman Jeremy Court went a perfect 2-0 on the trip. With his two victories, Court improved to 9-3 this spring and 15-5 overall in singles, to lead the team. Senior captain Phil Law became the fourth Quaker to enter double digits in wins this 2011-2012 season after his victory at William & Mary. He is 10-7 overall, joining Court, Lin (12-5), and sophomore Zach Katz (10-6).
Series with St. John's:
Overall Series: Penn leads 5-1, including 4-1 at home
First Meeting: March 31, 1992, Penn won 5-2
Last Meeting: March 19, 2011, No. 64 Penn toughed out a 4-3 victory over No. 70 St. John's at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
John's Win: March 19, 2010, the Red Storm beat the Quakers 5-2 on the old Lott Tennis Courts
-Last year was the first time in series history that Penn and St. John's have played at St. John's home courts
-This is the third straight year the two teams will be playing each other
St. John's will be a strong test for the Quakers and will be good preparation for the Ivy season. The Red Storm is currently ranked 58th nationally and have a record of 11-5 overall, including recently shutting out Penn's ivy rival Princeton 7-0, which was the second time St. John's had defeated Princeton this spring (they previously beat the Tigers 4-2 at the ECAC Team Championships). This will be the Red and White's seventh matchup against an Ivy League opponent, having already faced Cornell (lost, 3-4), Brown (lost, 1-4), and Columbia (won, 4-2 but then lost, 2-5).
The Red Storm has great depth and experience throughout its singles lineup. The team is led by junior Vasko Mladenov, who is the 58th best singles player in the country, and the No.1 ranked player in the ITA Northeast Region according to the rankings at the beginning of the season. Mladenov is a transfer from Texas, where he was named the 2010 ITA Texas Region Rookie of the Year and helped lead his team to both the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Championships.
In the fall, Mladenov captured the ITA Northeast Regional Championships crown to complete the fall season with a 15-5 record. This spring, he has accumulated an 11-4 record, including going 10-3 at No. 1 singles. A potential matchup this Wednesday will be between Mladenov and Turudic, where Turudic has already claimed an intense 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 victory over Mladenov in the quarterfinals of the Columbia Classic.