Oregon men’s tennis opened the 2020 season with a splash, sweeping Eastern Washington 7-0 in the first of two matches on Saturday. The Ducks’ win was an important first step after missing the playoffs in the 2018-2019 season and losing All-American Thomas Laurent.
Even inside, the conditions were cold inside the student tennis center. But once the match got started, Oregon was red hot, winning all of the doubles and single matches. The matches were not particularly close, either.
“With the cold conditions, getting warmed and firing on all cylinders is a bit of a process,” Ty Gentry said.
In doubles play, Riki Oshima and Jesper Klov-Nilsson teamed up to defeat Jeremy Muller and Erik Grimes, 7-5, after the duo fell into a 5-2 hole but came back to ensure the Oregon sweep. Charles Roberts and Luke Vandecasteele took down Wout Doumen and Martin Bats, 6-1.
In singles play, Gentry defeated Manuel Balce, 6-2, 6-2. Riki Oshima beat Jeremy Muller, 6-2, 6-0. Freshman Jesper Klov-Nilsson got a win against Martin Bats, 6-1, 6-3. Fellow freshman Luke Vandecasteele defeat Wout Doumen, 6-1, 6-2. Finally, transfer Brandon Lam won against Erik Grimes, 6-2, 6-3.
Sophomore Joshua Charlton has a chance to replace Laurent as the go-to player on the team and to become an All-American. After a strong 10-4 finish in the fall season, Charlton is ranked 14th in the country. Charlton won his individual match against Mikayel Khachatryan in two sets.
Charlton and Gentry were back in action in doubles play after winning the ITA Northwest doubles title in the fall. Gentry and Charlton begin the season ranked No. 8 in the country and won their match against Eastern Washington’s Mikayel Khachatryan/Manuel Balce.
Gentry’s 62 career doubles wins puts him at 10th all time in the Tennis program. The senior will have a chase with the record books in his final season.
The Ducks are looking to rebound after finishing last season 13-10. The squad has high hopes of making a return to the NCAA Tournament.
“I think when the conference comes and the tough matches ahead, it's going to be good and we’re going to get ready for it,” Gentry said.
“My primary goal is to make the sweet sixteen,” Riki Oshima said. “We have never done it in (Oregon) history.”
Oregon will face off against Portland State in the second game of its double header.