Jayson Amos and Armando Soemarno, the unsung heroes of Oregon men’s tennis
Jayson Amos admits that when it comes to doubles tennis, he and his partner, Armando Soemarno, have little regard for defense.
So far, it hasn’t mattered.
The duo is 9-2 in doubles matches this season and has quietly become one of the most important parts of an Oregon team that is off to its best start in the past decade. Neither of them is the most highly-touted player on the team, but Amos and Soemarno have produced remarkably consistent results while playing an inconsistent brand of tennis.
They have won their last four doubles matches while playing in the No. 1 spot for the Ducks, despite trailing by at least two games in all four of those matches. They often surrender points early because they are extremely aggressive offensively, but when they are clicking, that same aggressive style swings momentum in their favor and helps them pile up points late in matches.
In a home match against No. 46 ranked Louisville on Feb. 6, Amos and Soemarno trailed 3-1 to Alex Gornet and Jeff Brown, the No. 57 ranked doubles pair in the nation at the time.
Amos and Soemarno calmly won the next three games and pushed Gornet and Brown to a 6-6 tiebreaker; the match eventually ended as a non-scored draw because Oregon had already clinched the doubles point.
It was just one example of the Duck duo flirting with disaster early in a match, only to rally back and shock a top-ranked opponent.
“We are very aggressive, and I think that’s our strength,” Soemarno said following Oregon’s win over Louisville. “It’s very fun, actually. With defense, you’re just waiting for someone to miss. With offense, you’re making winners and it feels amazing to pump up the crowd.”
Soemarno, a freshman from Jakarta, Indonesia, and Amos, a junior from Mission Viejo, California, have been playing together since last fall and have already solidified themselves in the No. 1 spot for Oregon, which boasts a .729 winning percentage in doubles matches this year.
In a short time, they have created the type of chemistry that takes some players years to formulate.
“[Soemarno] moves really good and he understands the game. He’s always in the right position,” Oregon head coach Nils Schyllander said. “Jayson is a guy who can play anywhere in the rotation.”
Amos and Soemarno are 5-1 while playing in the No. 1 spot and 1-1 against nationally ranked opponents.
While they consistently provide winning results in the top spot, they also provide the Ducks with the luxury of depth.
Many teams prefer to play their top two singles players at the No. 1 doubles spot, but that isn’t the case with the Ducks. Soemarno hasn’t cracked consistent playing time in the singles rotation so far this year, and Amos has played almost exclusively in the No. 4 spot, where he has posted a 6-1 record.
Soemarno and Amos have had success so far in the No. 1 doubles spot, which allowed Daan Maasland and Simon Stevens, who were nationally ranked as a doubles pair during the fall, to slide into the No. 2 spot, where they have posted a 7-1 record.
“Having Daan and Simon play number-two is a luxury because they’re a very good team too,” Amos said. “That gives us confidence to swing freely at our opponents.
“If you can take out a number-one doubles team from a Pac-12 school, you’re doing your job well.”
Follow Jarrid on Twitter @jarrid_denney
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