February 2018

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31 T he University of Iowa men's tennis recruiting class has lived up to the hype, especially for one youngster from Poland. Piotr Smietana is as hot as any player on the Hawkeyes, collecting four wins in January to start the season. Iowa's early lineup has been comprised of three freshmen: Joe Tyler, Smietana, and Will Davies. Smietana has steadily improved his game since arriving on campus last summer. It was not easy for Smietana, who won only one of his first seven singles matches in the fall. "Adapting to a new environment from home was difficult," said Smietana. "I had to learn how to mix and match school with tennis more so than I ever had to before. I had not played in any tournaments in more than a year because I had to pass the SAT, TOEFL, and my Polish maturity certificate before I was able to focus on tennis." Aer the slow start to his collegiate career, Smietana showed resiliency, going 5-2 in the final competition of the fall at the Big Ten Indoor Singles and Doubles Championships in November. Smietana teamed with Davies and advanced to the finals. at experience will benefit both newcomers moving forward. "Playing with Will was one of the best experiences of my life," Smietana said. "We get along great. We think alike, so that made our game strong and we bonded to set us up for the future." Iowa opened its competitive season on Jan. 19, with Smietana notching his first singles and doubles win of the spring. Smietana, who has ascended to the No. 2 singles and doubles position, came to Iowa as a consistent player and he has a bright future according to Iowa head coach Ross Wilson. "He has a good first serve, and he has a strong base with his forehand and backhand," Wilson said. "He doesn't miss balls from the baseline." In addition to his consistency, Wilson has been impressed with Smietana's growth and development. "Piotr is intelligent and he's an observant guy," said Wilson. "He picks things up quickly, because he wants to know what's going on around him. Wilson added that Smietana is "unassumingly intense" on the court. "He is very true to who he is," Wilson said. "He has adapted well to the American style of play and how you compete in college sports." FEBRUARY SCHEDULE Feb. 4 at Miami Feb. 9 at Drake Feb. 11 vs. Arizona vs. IUPUI Feb. 16 vs. Creighton vs. Denver Feb. 24 at Dartmouth

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