The Stanford men’s tennis team continued its impressive winning streak Monday, defeating No. 70 San Francisco 6-1 on a cloudy afternoon.
No. 8 Stanford (16-5, 4-1 Pac-10) is currently riding an eight-match win streak, and the players were looking stronger than ever in their first of three matches this week.
The Dons (10-8, 3-1 WCC) came in as the lowest-ranked team the Cardinal had played since early February. It is a team motto that the most important match is always the next one, but Stanford used the match as an opportunity to both rest some key players and let some other players gain some valuable in-game experience.
The decision to toy with the lineup looked a bit suspect at the beginning of the match—the Dons may have surprised the Cardinal with their intensity out of the gate.
In the doubles point, the USF duo of Mark Decastro and Richard Bucalem defeated senior Ted Kelly and junior Ryan Thacher, 8-2. Kelly and Thacher don’t have a lot of experience together, as Thacher usually teams up with junior Bradley Klahn.
San Francisco eventually clinched the doubles point by pulling out a hard-fought, 8-6 victory at the second spot. Ola Bakke and Jacob Hartwig held off a late run by the Stanford duo of sophomores Denis Lin and Matt Kandath to give the Dons an early lead.
That was the last bright spot of the day for USF.
The Cardinal quickly rattled off six straight victories to win the match handily, 6-1. The only match to go to three sets was the contest between Stanford freshman Jamin Ball and USF’s Germain Bahri, which Ball eventually won in a super tiebreak—6-3, 4-6, 1-0.
Ball doesn’t have a spot on the standard lineup but has been a key reserve for the Cardinal in the past month and looks to have a bright future for the Stanford squad.
More impressive than the fact that the Cardinal has won nine straight matches is the sheer variety of ways it has been able to win, and Monday was no exception. Earlier in the season, the squad had some trouble rebounding after falling behind in matches. That was admittedly against tougher competition, but the team hardly even batted an eye after losing the doubles point Monday.
This is the final week of the regular season for the men’s tennis squad. The team faces No. 36 BYU this afternoon and then No. 12 California on Saturday before postseason play begins next Thursday with the Pac-10 Championships.