April 22, 2009
Wisconsin will play host to the 2009 Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament this weekend with matches beginning on Thursday, April 23, and continuing through Sunday, April 26.
The opening day of the tournament will feature six schools with No. 8 Minnesota and No. 9 Penn State kicking off the opening round at 9 a.m. CT. Sixth-seed Purdue will then battle No. 11 Michigan State at noon CT. To conclude the opening round, No. 7 Wisconsin will battle No. 10 Iowa, slated for a 3 p.m. CT start.
Each of the top five seeds receives a first-round bye and will start tournament play on Friday. Top-seed Northwestern, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Illinois will play the winners of Thursday's matches. No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Indiana will face off in the other quarterfinal match.
Northwestern (10-0, 22-1) ranks No. 1 nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, and will look for its 11-consecutive Big Ten Tournament title this weekend. The Wildcats finished the regular season with an unblemished 10-0 record for the fifth straight year under Claire Pollard's tutelage, improving their winning streak against Big Ten opponents to 74 matches. Individually, NU's Maria Mosolova is ranked first, and teammate Georgia Rose is ranked 20th in the nation by the ITA.
In last year's event, Michigan fell to Northwestern in the championship match. The No. 2-seeded Wolverines will be led this year by Chisako Sugiyama, who is currently ranked No. 62 in singles play by the ITA. In all, 10 Big Ten athletes are ranked in the ITA top-125 singles, five pairs rank in the top-65 doubles and five teams fall in the top-50.
This year's event will be broadcast nationally by the Big Ten Network. The network will air the championship match on tape delay on Sunday, May 3, at 4 p.m. ET.
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