Following a comeback after trailing 3-1, the match between Oregon men’s tennis and the University of San Diego came down to one winner-take-all match.
The first five matches were not that close, with each playing just two sets. The lone three-set match came from position two and wound up being the most important. Oregon’s Emmanuel Coste, No. 99, and San Diego’s Gui Osorio, No. 117, were both playing for the dual.
Osorio got off to a great start, leading 5-3. With the game tied at 40 all, Osorio had a chance to win. Coste needed a comeback, and some luck, to keep the match alive.
“I was not in a good mindset at the beginning of the third set,” Coste, a Aix-en Provence, France native, said. “I had the feeling he was a little bit tight, nervous. I was saying to myself ‘You can do it. Just let him walk.’ Finally I made it, so I’m really happy.”
After Coste took that game to bring the score to 5-4, he began to use his teammates for motivation.
“I was not using them the right way at the beginning of the third set,” Coste said. “It was me who was a little bit tight, but at the end, they were just pushing me and it was just a bonus to have them.”
In its first of three matches this weekend, the Oregon men’s tennis team came back to defeat the San Diego Toreros 4-3, with Coste taking the final four games to outlast Osorio in a down to the wire match clincher 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
Oregon comes back to win 4-3. Emmanuel Coste clinches the dual with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 win. Here’s the winning point. pic.twitter.com/mXaGGXmTeA— Maverick Pallack (@Mavpallack) February 2, 2019
“It was all mental at the end with both players,” Oregon head coach Nils Schyllander said. “It all came down to making one less error. … It’s his first year on campus, so first time he is in this situation, he did a fantastic job.”
Oregon trailed 3-1 in the dual after USD took the doubles point sophomores Riki Oshima (6-3, 6-1) and Charles Roberts (6-3, 6-2) lost their singles matches.
Oregon’s first two points came by way of dominant performances by No. 4 Thomas Laurent and Ty Gentry.
Laurent controlled the match against No. 83 August Holmgren, taking the first 11 games of the match. He was the first to finish his singles match, taking it 6-0, 6-2.
Gentry overpowered Joel Gamerov 7-5, 6-2 in the No. 3 position. Gentry has won his last six matches and moves to 9-3 in his junior campaign.
“They’re both playing lights out right now,” Schyllander said. “What Tom did today, that’s a nationally ranked player who’s very good and he was up 6-0, 5-0 I think. And for Ty, he’s just cruising. He’s carrying on what he did last season and he’s doing it at a higher position in the lineup, so that’s huge.”
The Ducks tied the match at three when freshman Joshua Charleton defeated David Norfeldt 6-4, 7-5. Charleton is now 4-0 in dual meets.
“He’s great,” Schyllander said. “He’s just got such variety. His variety is so good in his game. He can slice; he can come forward or he can stay back, he can serve or volley. He’s a tough match for anyone.”
The Ducks will have to regroup fast as they are retaking the court against New Mexico at 11 a.m., less than 15 hours after Coste’s win.
“We knew it was going to come down to the last match because it’s two very good and evenly matched teams,” Schyllander. “We kind of prepared all week that someone was going to be in this situation and I was right.”
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack