Cardinal trounces Ducks, Huskies over weekend
With three matches left to go in the regular season, the Stanford men’s tennis team continued its dominance on the court. This weekend, the Cardinal (15-5, 4-1 Pac-10) thrashed Pac-10 rivals Washington and Oregon, 6-1 and 7-0 respectively, to extend its winning streak to four matches.
“We’re trying to get a little better each match,” said head coach John Whitlinger. “Our guys know that our best tennis is still ahead of us.”
On Friday, Stanford led No. 22 Washington from start to finish under blue skies, though the Cardinal doubles teams, which have been phenomenal all year, faced tougher matchups to clinch the doubles point.
The freshman squad of Denis Lin and Matt Kandath handled Tobi Obenaus and Alex Rosinski, 8-3, but the UW teams at the first and second slots challenged the Cardinal.
Sophomores Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher, the nation’s top doubles team, pulled out a close victory over Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kyle McMorrow, 8-6. The pair is now 10-1 in dual matches this season.
Junior Alex Clayton and senior Richard Wire, ranked No. 31 by the ITA, went to a tiebreaker to finally defeat UW’s Derek Drabble and Martin Kildahl, 9-8 (8-6).
The fierce competition of the doubles matches suggested that Washington might put up a fight in the singles and claw its way back into the match, but the Huskies proved to be incapable of contending with Stanford’s robust singles lineup.
No. 5 Klahn beat Nedunchezhiyan in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 to set the tone for the rest of the day. Soon after Klahn’s match ended, junior Greg Hirshman finished off a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Aaron Clissold in the sixth slot.
Hirshman, a self -described “pretty scrappy” player, is now 14-2 in dual matches this season. The junior is also undefeated at home this year and undefeated while playing in the sixth spot.
Whitlinger juggled the singles lineup for the Washington match, moving Thacher up to the second spot and moving Clayton down to the third spot.
“I just wanted to see how certain guys would react in different positions,” Whitlinger said. Both players reacted with two-set victories.
No. 93 Thacher clinched the team match with a two-set triumph over Washington freshman McMorrow, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
No. 45 Clayton defeated Drabble, 6-4, 6-4.
Kandath won his third consecutive match since returning to the singles lineup, 6-1, 7-6 (10-8).
Stanford’s only loss on the day came at the hands of Kildahl, who defeated freshman Lin in a third-set tiebreaker after the team match had been clinched, 3-7, 7-5, 1-0 (13-11).
On Saturday, Stanford celebrated Senior Day with a 7-0 sweep of No. 72 Oregon in windy conditions.
Richard Wire and Paul Morrissey were honored before the match and took down their nameplates from the scoreboard in a ceremony after the victory.
Morrissey has been sidelined with a leg injury all year. He served as the team’s honorary volunteer assistant coach for Saturday’s match.
Richard Wire, a four-year starter, has witnessed the resurgence of Stanford tennis during his career.
In 2007, when Wire was a freshman, the Cardinal limped to an 8-16 record. Since that losing season, Wire has seen Stanford return to its traditional status as a Pac-10 powerhouse and a national title contender.
“We got more confident over the years and learned how to play in close matches against top teams,” Wire said.
The veteran Wire was the story of the day, with victories in both of his matches. Wire and Clayton were beating Oregon’s Ric Mortera and Nico Bjerke 6-4 when the doubles point was clinched.
Wire played in the third spot for singles and coasted to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Mortera.
“It was bittersweet,” Wire said. “I’ve had so much fun playing at Stanford so I was sad that it’s ending, but I played really well and I got to be coached by one of my best friends, [Morrissey].”
The Cardinal didn’t lose a set against Oregon in doubles or singles.
Klahn and Thacher defeated Alexander Cornelissen and Marcos Verdasco 8-4. Junior Ted Kelly and freshman Walker Kehrer defeated Aaron Clissold and Douglas Mayeda, 8-2.
Klahn, Clayton, Lin, Kandath and Hirshman all won their singles matches in straight sets.
The Cardinal will look to extend its four-match winning streak against Santa Clara on Tuesday and San Francisco on Wednesday. Both matches will be played at home.