The No. 40 Oregon men’s tennis team improved to 8-2 on the season after a dominating 4-0 midweek win against No. 43 Utah State.
The Ducks did not take it easy on the short week, however. They spent a lot of time in practice this week working on doubles play after they dropped the point to Utah State in last year’s matchup.
That work paid off, with Oregon taking the doubles point for the sixth straight match, this time in decisive fashion.
The No. 16 doubles duo Cormac Clissold and Thomas Laurent made quick work of Valedar Holm and Samuel Serrano 6-0 and Simon Stevens and Ty Gentry secured the point with a 6-3 win over Sergiu Bucur and Andrew Nakajima. This left Charles Roberts and Armando Soemarno’s 5-4 lead unfinished.
“I thought we played very well,” said head coach Nils Schyllander. “All three doubles teams showed up.”
The domination continued into singles play. Laurent defeated Jaime Barajas 6-1 in straight sets to put Oregon up 2-0. Laurent is now tied with Gentry for the team-lead in wins with 15.
Senior Akihiro Tanaka put the Ducks one win from victory after downing Serrano 6-1, 6-3.
This was a rematch from last year when Tanaka beat Serrano 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), which gave Tanaka confidence and a plan to repeat his result from last season.
“I played well enough to beat [Serrano], but honestly I didn’t really play well for me,” Tanaka said. “That is definitely something to work on for the next couple of days in practice.”
Schyllander was more positive in his assessment of Tanaka. He said he didn’t make any mistakes and adding that he is tough to beat when that happens.
Needing one more point to end the match, it became a race to see who could get the win with Ethan Young-Smith and Gentry both close to victory.
After getting an unfinished this weekend against Northern Arizona, Young-Smith was determined to get back on the court and get a win.
He did just that after finding out he was playing this morning, finishing the job with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jose Carvajal.
“Any sort of match leading up to bigger matches always helps,” Young-Smith said. “Practice can only do so much for you. It’s all about the matches.”
It was an easy decision for Schyllander. Oregon’s head coach knows Young-Smith’s work-ethic and the intensity he brings to every match.
“You always know Ethan is going to bring the fight and the fire,” Schyllander said. “He has practiced real well and deserved to be out there tonight.”
Overall, this win over Utah State will help Oregon when it comes tournament time as top-50 wins are hard to come by, especially in midweek matches.
“We definitely needed that,” Young-Smith said. “I am pretty sure everyone feels good about that win.”
Oregon will now travel to Iowa City to play Cornell on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Iowa on Sunday at 9 a.m.
“I will just look for the same things I saw from my team tonight, which is complete focus and determination,” Schyllander said.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack