No. 7 Stanford heads into the Pac-10 Tournament after grabbing a share of the regular-season title in the last weekend of the season. The Cardinal (18-5, 5-1 Pac-10) ended the season on a seven-match winning streak that vaulted it to its current ranking. The streak included wins over No. 9 UCLA and No. 13 California.
Though scoring well at the conference tournament is a goal for Stanford, the event serves more as a warm-up for the upcoming NCAA Championships. The Pac-10 Tournament will be played on an individual basis, unlike the team competition that has been the main format of competition in Stanford’s regular season.
Stanford’s toughest competition will come from No. 5 USC, which shared the conference title with the Card. By virtue of their regular-season victory over Stanford, the Trojans have secured the Pac-10’s automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal should receive an at-large bid on the strength of its regular-season record.
Stanford’s top star entering Pac-10s is sophomore Bradley Klahn. Last year, Klahn won the individual conference titles in both singles and doubles, becoming just the fourth Stanford player to accomplish the feat. In the doubles draw, he will pair with fellow sophomore Ryan Thacher. In the latest ITA rankings, Klahn is ranked as the No. 12 singles player in the country. USC’s Steve Johnson and Robert Farah are ranked higher than Klahn, at No. 2 and No. 8, respectively.
The doubles combo of Klahn and Thacher is ranked second nationally.
Stanford will send four other players, aside from Klahn and Thacher, into the Pac-10 singles draw—juniors Alex Clayton and Greg Hirshman, senior Richard Wire and freshman Denis Lin. Clayton is ranked No. 58 and Thacher is at No. 86. Freshmen Sam Ecker, Walker Kehrer and Matt Kandath will play in the Invitational division.
Two other doubles teams are also entered in the Pac-10 doubles draw—No. 36 Clayton/Wire and Kandath/Lin.