Oregon men’s tennis defeats Utah behind Laurent’s clutch performance
After the Oregon men’s tennis team’s Senior Day victory over Arizona, attention immediately switched toward its last three Pac-12 matches. Essentially controlling their own destiny, the Ducks needed a win Saturday over Utah in order to achieve their postseason goals.
“[The players] know what they need to do,” head coach Nils Schyllander said. “We’ll get it done.”
The No. 41 Ducks indeed got it done today, getting a huge 4-3 win over No. 35 Utah thanks to a clutch win by No. 24 singles player Thomas Laurent.
With the match tied at three, Laurent downed No. 115 singles player Dan Little 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-1 for win number 23 on the season.
This marks the second straight away match the Ducks won in a do-or-die situation. Freshman Riki Oshima clinched the match over Washington 4-3 on March 31.
The Ducks led early after taking the best of three doubles point. The No. 37 doubles duo of Laurent and Cormac Clissold won 7-6(3) and Simon Stevens and Ty Gentry won 6-3.
In singles play, Gentry put the Ducks up 2-0 with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win before Clissold and Stevens dropped their matches.
Oshima then won his match 6-3, 7-6(6) at the six position and Akihiro Tanaka dropped his match 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(1).
This set the stage for Laurent to be the hero, and he did it in dominant fashion. In the best-of-three match, Laurent won the overall match deciding set 6-1 before being mobbed by his teammates and dampening Utah’s Senior Day.
The Ducks will once again play on the road, traveling to the Bay Area to take on Stanford and Cal to close out Pac-12 play next weekend.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack
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