Armando Soemarno’s impact in doubles play felt both on and off the court for the Ducks
When it comes to the sport of tennis, most attention is drawn towards the accomplishments of the individual. Collegiately, individual rankings and conference player of the week honors tend to steal most of the headlines.
Considering that, it can be easy to underappreciate what Armando Soemarno brings to the table for the Ducks. Soemarno plays exclusively in doubles for Oregon, but you don’t need to be around his teammates or coaches for long to appreciate how much they value his impact on the success of the program.
“I think he really loves playing doubles, and it shows,” head coach Nils Schyllander said. “His passion is in the doubles play, and he really embraces it.”
The results match his passion. More times than not, Soemarno has come away on the winning side to help the Ducks snag the opening doubles point of each match, which can sometimes be the difference between a win or loss for the team.
“Since I was young, I’ve always liked doubles better than singles,” Soemarno said. “It’s more action.”
Soemarno currently owns a 38-14 record playing in doubles, playing all but two matches either in the No. 1 or No. 2 spot. Additionally, Soemarno is 3-1 in NCAA Tournament matches.
His presence atop doubles play hasn’t come as a surprise to Oregon, either. Coming out of Indonesia, Soemarno won six doubles titles on the IFT junior circuit and was a finalist at the South East Asia Championship.
“We knew how good he was in doubles, and there’s a reason why some of the top programs in the country wanted him,” Schyllander said. “Definitely, he was brought in with doubles in mind.”
Soemarno’s winning ways in doubles didn’t waste any time adjusting to collegiate tennis. Playing alongside then-junior Jayson Amos, the pair won the doubles tournament title at the UC Santa Barbara Classic. It was the start of a 2016 campaign that saw the pair go 18-3 together.
“We clicked pretty fast,” Amos said. “Our styles complemented each other pretty well. He’s a really aggressive player at the net and moves well.”
Fast forward two seasons later and the roles have switched. Amos has graduated, and Soemarno is now the junior playing alongside freshman Charles Roberts. The pair is currently 6-2 together, and has played five matches – including the last three – from the No. 1 spot.
“We’re getting to know each other inside the court and off the court, which is great,” Soemarno said. “If you don’t have any connection, if you don’t know the guy, if you don’t feel comfortable, you’re just going to do your own thing and you could just slip up.”
Soemarno’s importance on the team isn’t just limited to doubles. Almost as important as his play on the court is the support he offers to his teammates every match in singles action.
“It just speaks volume of his character,” Amos said. “It’s not that he doesn’t complain; it’s that he is so involved and supportive of everyone else.”
The Ducks experienced one of their best seasons in program history in 2017. With Pac-12 play around the corner this season, doubles may be the difference maker. There’s no question that all eyes will be on Soemarno to continue what he does best.
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich
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