Just one day after defeating San Diego in a close 4-3 match, the Oregon men’s tennis team handled Nevada 4-0 Saturday morning. The Ducks started strong, sweeping the doubles point and getting off to a fast start in singles. With a 3-0 lead however, things slowed down before freshman Joshua Charlton continued his undefeated dual season with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 clinch.
Charlton uses his teammates for motivation, as he draws off their competitive spirit and emotion when things get tight.
“I think I’m a calm player, but when you're out here competing for not only yourself, but the team and the boys, the coaches, the supporters of the school… You want to do it for them,” Charlton said. “When the crowd gets into it, starts getting a bit noisy, it's hard to hold the emotion in sometimes and I think it’s good to release it.”
His teammates aren’t the only thing keeping Charlton going however, he attributes his work thus far to his preparation prior to the season.
“All the work we did in the fall, working with the coaches on the court, working in the gym, getting ourselves physically prepared for the season,” he said. “That’s the main thing for me that has really helped me hang in these tough matches and play physical tennis for the whole match and I think it’s shown through the first part of the season.”
Oregon head coach, Nils Schyllander believes versatility is the key to Charlton’s early success in dual season.
“He’s got a big variety in his game and he’s using it so he can play a lot of different ways, which makes him a tough out... he can change style and how he plays,” Schyllander said of his surging freshman.
After a rough outing the previous day against San Diego, Riki Oshima was dominant in singles, taking his match 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile, No. 5 Thomas Laurent shook off a rough doubles match and singles start, eventually winning 6-4, 6-3, after battling back from a 4-1 deficit in the first game. This gave Oregon a 3-0 advantage.
“Thomas being the captain of the team, he has really shown by example the level that isn’t so much expected of you, but that you can produce through this program,” Josh Charlton said.
The end of the match dragged as no other Duck was able to close out until a late win from Charlton. After sealing the comeback win against San Diego, Emmanuel Coste ended 5-7, 6-3, unfinished.
Ty Gentry fought back from a poor start against Jeremy Merville, finishing 4-6, 6-3.
Finally, Ethan Young-Smith, who replaced Charles Roberts after he suffered a mild stinger in doubles, hung in a tough match against Daniel Dudockin which ended unfinished at 6-4, 4-5, after he started the second set down 5-1. According to Schyllander however, Young-Smith would have seen the court regardless of Roberts injury, stating postgame that it was planned all along.
The Ducks now look to close out the weekend 3-0 tomorrow vs. New Mexico.
“We want to finish off strong, we’ve had a good weekend so far so the guys got to make they they sleep well and hydrate and eat well, because it’s going to be an early morning tomorrow,” Schyllander said.
Follow Shane Hoffmann on Twitter @Shane_Hoffmann