Pac-12 preview: Oregon men’s tennis will find out what they’re made of
The Oregon men’s tennis team is a confident group right now. They should be. The team wrapped up its nonconference schedule winning the San Diego Invite to improve to 14-2 in 2017. After starting the season outside the ITA rankings, the Ducks now find themselves No. 24 in the nation.
The Ducks are well aware of what lies ahead in Pac-12 competition. Three schools — USC, UCLA and Cal — are above the Ducks in the ITA rankings. It will take a near perfect stretch of tennis to come out atop the Pac-12. It’ll be a test right from the start. The Ducks open conference play with back-to-back matches against No. 5 USC and No. 10 UCLA on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The Ducks finished in fifth place in Pac-12 play last season (out of eight teams) with a 3-4 conference record. They had wins over Washington, Utah and Arizona.
2016 standings — UCLA (7-0), USC (5-2), Cal (5-2), Stanford (4-3), Oregon (3-4), Washington (3-4), Utah (1-6), Arizona (0-7)
Ducks’ keys to success
Doubles Domination — The Ducks can get off to a fast start in conference matches in doubles play. The team has won the doubles point in 13 of its 16 matches played so far, highlighted by the play of Thomas Laurent and Cormac Clissold, who went 12-2 and rose to to the No. 1 pair.
Laurent at the top of his game — Laurent is having a season to remember. The sophomore is 14-1 in dual singles matches and is coming off an Oregon record for consecutive wins with 19. To make things more impressive, Laurent is doing this from the No. 1 spot.
Upperclassman play — Simon Stevens, a junior, is going to have a lot of work on his hands from the No. 2 spot and will have to remain competitive to give the Ducks their best shot at success. Jayson Amos is one win away from the Oregon record for all-time singles wins. He will be expected to provide a consistent level of play for the Ducks.
No. 6 spot — You can’t overlook the No. 6 spot, which could swing the outcome of the match either way. Ethan Young-Smith and Ty Gentry have spent much of the season switching off in this spot. Will either seize control of the spot?
Survive on the road — The Ducks’ first four matches will be on the road, before closing out Pac-12 play with three straight matches at home, where they have yet to lose this season. If the Ducks go 3-1 on the road, they have a shot to win the conference.
- 17-3 overall record (No. 5 in ITA rankings)
- March 31, 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium
- Top players – Brandon Holt (singles), Holt/Riley Smith (doubles)
- 11-4 overall record (No. 10)
- April 1, 3:00 p.m. at Sunset Canyon Tennis courts
- Top players – Gage Brymer (singles), Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (doubles)
- 13-4 overall record
- April 7, 3:00 p.m. at George S. Eccles tennis center
- Top players – Nick Borchenko (singles), Borchenko/Gabriel Diaz Friere in doubles
- 9-9 overall record
- April 9, 11:00 a.m. at Lanelle Robson tennis center
- Top players – Shoti Meparidze (singles), Trent Botha/Oliver Plaskett (doubles)
- 13-5 overall record (No. 9)
- April 14, 3:00 p.m. at Oregon student tennis center
- Top players – Florian Lakat (singles), Lakat/Filip Bergevi (doubles, ranked No.2)
- 10-4 overall record
- April 16, 12:00 p.m. at Oregon student tennis center
- Top players – Tom Fawcett (singles), Genender/Kumar (double)
- 11-4 overall record
- April 22. 2:00 p.m. at Oregon student tennis center
- Top players – Mitch Stewart (singles), Piers Foley/Wendell Watanabe (doubles)
April 26-29 in Ojai, California.
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