Oregon men’s tennis remains undefeated at home with intense comeback win over Indiana
Oregon’s men’s tennis squad has flirted with disaster all season, and so far it’s worked.
Undefeated at home, the Ducks (8-1 and ranked No. 37 in the nation) have suffered early deficits numerous times this season, only to turn up the intensity mid-match and grind out a victory on each occasion.
They notched another such victory Friday evening with a 7-0 sweep over the Indiana Hoosiers, and it was their most impressive — and baffling — victory thus far.
At one point during the match, five of Oregon’s six players found themselves losing late in the first set of their respective matches. Indiana, the No. 50 team in the nation, jumped on Oregon early. It appeared the Ducks’ magic act had finally come to an end.
Then, just like that, they flipped the switch late in the first set. Again.
The Ducks won the first set in three of the six matches, then proceeded to outplay the Hoosiers on every court for the final two sets.
“Once we got rolling, we were like an avalanche,” Oregon head coach Nils Schyllander said. “We were not going to be stopped.”
Oregon was sparked by a gutsy 6-4, 6-0 win from Jayson Amos in the No. 3 spot. Amos trailed 4-1 early in the first set, but battled back to win the next 11 games. His victory came several minutes after Cormac Clissold captured a 6-1, 6-4 win in the No. 5 spot.
“I started off slow, didn’t serve very well and was trying to pull the trigger too early,” Amos said. “I just had to re-focus and try to get back to making a few balls.”
“Even when I was down 4-1, I knew that I was not playing my best tennis. I knew I was still in the match and I knew I would find my game.”
Amos’ 11 game rally was synchronized with rallies by several other Ducks. Simon Stevens, Thomas Laurent and Daan Maasland all won the second set of their matches after dropping the first set. Maasland’s second set win served as the knockout punch.
Playing in the No. 1 spot, Maasland, ranked as the No. 49 singles player in the nation, badly lost the first set to No. 45 Sam Monette. However, as Maasland carved his way to a 6-1 win in the second set, Monette became frustrated, arguing with the line judge about several calls he thought were incorrect.
Monette’s frustration worked to Maasland’s advantage as the Oregon senior cruised to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory. Maasland clinched the match-deciding third set partially due to another argument from Monette that resulted in a penalty. Maasland led the third set 5-4 and trailed 40-15 in that game. He hit a shot near the rear line that the judge ruled as a point for Maasland, and Monette began to argue the call. The judge then assigned a foul to Monette that resulted in a one-point penalty.
In the matter of one play, Maasland went from trailing 40-15 to tied 40-40. He hit a match-clinching ball on the following set to earn the win.
The Ducks won the second set on all six courts as well as the three necessary third sets. Combined with their win in the doubles match beforehand, it equated to a 7-0 sweep over a Hoosiers team that the Ducks are not particularly fond of.
The two teams squared off in a match at Indiana last season that took place in what Amos described as a hostile environment because of the Indiana fans. Oregon’s attendance was higher than it had been all year on Friday, and the Duck fans gave Oregon the same type of home court advantage that Indiana benefited from when it beat the Ducks last season.
“(The environment) is what makes college tennis fun, but I think we let it get to us a little too much last year,” Amos said. “We definitely knew that this was a team that stood in the way of our goals, so we prepared really well this week. We got ’em back.”
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