Thursday afternoon at the Taube Family Tennis Center brought another strong showing for the No. 8 Stanford men’s tennis team, which notched perhaps its most impressive victory of the young season by defeating the No. 15 Texas Tech Red Raiders, 5-2.
In what turned out to be its closest and most highly contested match of the year, the Cardinal was anchored by strong play from its No. 1 player, defending NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn. The star junior and his doubles partner, No. 2 player and junior Ryan Thacher, secured the always-pivotal doubles point in a victory over Texas Tech’s Raony Carvalho and Rafael Garcia. Klahn and Thacher defeated the Brazilian duo, 8-6.
Over on Court Three, sophomores Denis Lin and Matt Kandath helped secure the doubles point for Stanford by dispatching Texas Tech’s David Gonzalez and Raphael Pfister, 8-2.
“Doubles points are critical in matches like this,” said Stanford head coach John Whitlinger. “Any time you’re playing a team that is a really tough team, as Texas Tech is, the doubles point is gigantic–when you can get that first point and only have to win three singles matches, it makes a really big difference.”
Stanford executed early in doubles, securing the final margin by winning four of the six singles matches and falling just short in a pair of three-set losses. Klahn, Lin, senior Alex Clayton and senior Greg Hirshmann all won their singles matches.
Whitlinger lauded his team for the way it played against such a tough opponent.
“Texas Tech just beat Cal, who I think is a very good team, a few days ago, so we know that they are talented,” he said. “I was very pleased with our effort today; I thought the guys competed well and, overall, I’m very happy with what happened today, and the team should be too.”
With his team off to a blazing start, Whitlinger said that the goal was to continue improving everyday.
“Our motto has always been, ‘build towards May’. You’ve got to be playing your best tennis in May, no matter how you start the season,” he said. “You want to finish strong, and we’re trying to get ourselves into a position to do that.”
The Cardinal will be back on the courts Tuesday, Feb. 8, at home against Utah.