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Allaf becomes Iowa all-time tennis leader in combined wins




The senior from Dubai, UAE, overtook former Hawkeye Tyler Cleveland on Iowas all-time list for combined singles and doubles wins.

Grace Smith

Iowas Kareem Allaf serves the ball during the Iowa Mens tennis meet v. Wisconsin at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Friday, March. 12, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers 5-2.

The Iowa men’s tennis team hit a new low on Easter Sunday, expanding the losing streak to six games with a loss to Nebraska. Prior to Sunday’s game in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers had not won a single game in 2020-21.

The Hawkeyes current six-game losing streak is the longest they’ve suffered under head coach Ross Wilson.

What made Iowa worse was the way Nebraska won the game.

The Hawkeyes jumped out early with two doubles wins to earn the doubles point. Iowa then went on to drop four singles bouts to lose the game.

Senior Kareem Allaf served as one of Iowas’ only bright spots on Sunday, taking a 6-1 doubles win alongside junior Will Davies and a 6-3, 6-0 win over Nebraskas Victor Moreno Lozano.

With the pair of wins he earned on Sunday, Allaf overtook former Hawkeye Tyler Cleveland to become Iowa tennis all-time leader in combined singles and doubles wins.

Allaf now has 161 combined singles and doubles wins.

Wilson’s recent decision to shake up his team doubles savings also paid off on Sunday, as sophomore Oliver Okonkwo and junior Joe Tyler kicked off Nebraskas No. 2 pairing Nic Weidenhorn and William Gleason 6-1.

From there, it looked like the Hawkeyes would break out of their recent slump.

Tyler broke his lost streak of two games with a quick, 6-3, 6-1, singles win over Brandon Perez. Allaf followed Tylers’ performance with his own victory in singles to give the Hawkeyes a 3-0 lead on the game.

RELATED:Hawkeye men’s tennis seems to end losing streak in Nebraska

From then on, the Hawkeyes only needed to win one of the next four singles matches to claim a win, but they couldn’t.

Freshman Peter Alam lost to Wiedenhorn in singles, 6-2, 6-1. Alam has not yet won a competition in college.

Davies also fell in singles on Sunday 6-2, 6-3. The Norwich, England native has now lost four games in a row after seven wins in his first eight conference calls.

Davis has set a winning record for the past three seasons.

After Davies lost, Iowa needed a win from Okonkwo or senior Jason Kerst.

Okonkwo made a statement in the second set of his match after a blowout loss in set one, forcing a third set tiebreaker.

With the dust settled, Okonkwo fell to Gleason in the tiebreaker, 7-5, setting the stage for a sink-or-swim match before Christmas.

Like Okonkwo, Christmas won the second set of his match after dropping set one. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native forced a third set, but could not bring an individual or team win for the Hawkeyes, losing 6-3, 3-6, and 6-4.

With the loss to the Cornhuskers, Hawkeyes’ record now stands at 4-8 in league games and 4-10 overall.

Only four games remain before the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Championships begin. Iowa will have to win all remaining matchups to make it to the .500 mark before the regular season ends.

The Hawkeyes have already lost at least once this season to three of their four remaining opponents.

Iowa returns to the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City on Friday at 1pm to tackle No. 12 Illinois.

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