When Stanford faced Hawaii over Thanksgiving break, the Cardinal, playing on the road for the first time and without its top-ranked player sophomore Bradley Klahn, still won easily, 7-0. On Saturday, playing in the friendly confines of the Taube Family Tennis Center with Klahn back in the singles lineup, the result was vaguely familiar.
On the singles side, Klahn, junior Alex Clayton, and freshmen Denis Lin and Matt Kandath all won in straight sets, while sophomore Ryan Thacher needed three sets to seal the victory. Senior Richard Wire was the lone Cardinal player to lose, dropping in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
On the doubles side, Stanford recorded a near-perfect showing as Clayton and Wire won 8-1, Kandath and Lin won 8-0 and junior Greg Hirshman and freshman Walker Kehrer won 8-2.
Once again, the weather impacted the match. Originally scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., head coach John Whitlinger postponed the starting time until 3 p.m. to give the courts enough time to sufficiently dry.
“We thought we really weren’t going to play at all,” Clayton said. “Getting to the courts and seeing that we were going to play was a little bit of shock.”
Still unsure of the forecast, the order of the match was reversed, with the teams playing the singles matches before the doubles. In collegiate tennis, a team needs to win four points out of a possible seven to win the match. One point is awarded for winning the doubles side, and each of the six singles matches are also worth one point. Thus, a team can clinch the match solely on singles.
The rain, of course, did not come. The result? Three doubles matches that had no impact on the overall match.
“It was definitely a little bit different [playing doubles after the match had already been clinched],” Clayton said. “But we still came out and only lost three doubles games.”
The fact that the match was already decided after singles did allow Whitlinger to mix up his doubles lineup, swapping out the No. 1 squad of Klahn and Thacher for Hirshman and Kehrer.
For Klahn, Saturday was a whirlwind day. It began at 9 a.m. when he faced Tim Smyczek in the first round of the SAP Open in San Jose — a tournament headlined by Andy Roddick. Klahn lost 6-2, 7-6.
He then returned to campus, unsure if he had another match to play. “I stopped by the courts on my way back and they were looking pretty dry, so I knew there was a shot we could play,” Klahn said.
After receiving word from his coach, Klahn got his body and mind back into game form. “I didn’t feel too tired after playing the two sets,” he said. “I’ve played two matches in a day in a number of situations.”
Once the singles were over and Stanford had won, Whitlinger finally gave Klahn a rest, allowing Hirshman and Kehrer to get some playing time –though Klahn insisted he would have been ready to go if needed.
Next up for Stanford is the Round of 16 in the National Team Indoor Championships, where weather will not be a factor. The Cardinal will fly to Charlottesville, Virg. on Wednesday and play No. 8 Texas Friday morning.
“We beat them last year second round, so it should definitely be a good rematch,” Clayton said.
If Stanford wins, it will face either USC or Fresno State on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The championship is at noon on Monday.