Men’s tennis goes 0-2 on Texas trip

Feb. 9, 2016, 1:55 a.m.

No. 18 Stanford men’s tennis (5-3) fell just shy of victory against both No. 2 Texas Christian University (3-1) and the No. 26 University of Texas (5-5) over the weekend in Austin, Texas.

Tom Fawcett. Photo by Sam Girvin
Stanford sophomore Tom Fawcett (above) remains undefeated (7-0) in dual match singles play this season after winning both his matches against Texas Christian and Texas. (SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

Both losses were tightly contested. The 4-2 loss against TCU on Saturday was closer than the final scoreline indicates, as five out of six singles matches went to three sets. On Sunday, Texas’ 4-3 upset was nearly a Stanford victory. In the deciding match, senior Nolan Paige had two match points while serving at 6-5, 40-30 in the third set, but was fended off by the Longhorns’ Adrian Ortiz at the No. 3 singles spot. Ortiz bested Paige 8-6 in the tiebreak, for a final score of 1-6, 6-0, 7-6 (6).

“We had tough losses, but both were really close,” said freshman Sameer Kumar. “A few points here and there changed the match. We know that if we focus and work on the small things, we can change the outcome.”

Clinching the doubles point seems to be crucial in order for Stanford to rise above tough competition. So far this season, Stanford has not won a dual match after losing the doubles point.

That trend continued against TCU and Texas, with senior duo Paige and Maciek Romanowicz securing the only Stanford doubles victory (6-4) against the TCU Horned Frogs at the No. 1 spot.

As singles got underway, Paige almost turned the momentum back in the Cardinal’s favor by winning the first set 6-4 at No. 3 singles. However, Texas’ Guillermo Nunez kept up the pressure and won the next two sets (4-6, 7-5, 6-3) to push TCU ahead 2-0.

Freshman Michael Genender suffered a similarly nail-biting loss (7-6 (1), 7-6 (5)) at No. 5 singles. The Cardinal pushed the scoreline to 2-3, thanks to wins from sophomore Tom Fawcett at the No. 1 spot and Romanowicz playing in the No. 6 position. TCU regained control in the final match, however, as sophomore David Wilzcynski fell 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-0 at the No. 2 spot.

The pattern was repeated on Sunday, with the Longhorns clinching close victories at the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles spots, overcoming Paige and Romanowicz, and Fawcett and Kumar, respectively.

Unlike against TCU, the Cardinal jumped to a commanding 3-1 lead once singles got underway.

Kumar clinched the first Stanford victory as he rallied from a rare doubles loss.

“I was trying to bounce back and not focus on the loss in doubles,” Kumar said. “I got off to a quick start.”

Facwett, Kumar’s regular doubles partner, also rebounded. At the No. 1 spot, Fawcett overcame Texas’ George Goldhoff 6-2, 6-1. Romanowicz added another victory at the No. 5 spot, leaving Stanford only one win away from clinching the match.

However, the Longhorns battled back at the No. 2 and No. 6 spots, defeating Wilczynski (6-2, 6-4) and Genender (6-3, 4-6, 6-3).

With the dual match score tied, the Ortiz clinched the match for Texas in a dramatic three-set battle (1-6, 6-0, 7-6 (6)). Serving at 6-5, 40-30 in the third set, Paige sent a forehand wide and then double-faulted on his two match points. In the ensuring tiebreak, Ortiz suffered a double fault of his own, and Paige won five consecutive points to take the lead at 5-3. Ortiz failed to convert on his first match point at 6-5, but converted on his next match point by lobbing the 6-foot-2 Paige at net.

Despite the team losses, Fawcett (7-0) and Kumar (6-0) remain undefeated in dual match singles play this season.

“It’s a culmination of everything I’ve been working on from the fall,” Kumar said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and working on playing agressively.”

The continued contributions from Kumar and Fawcett, combined with the team’s ability to pressure its opponents, will be crucial as Stanford next faces another challenging opponent, Cal, which defeated TCU on Sunday. Stanford will host the Golden Bears on Feb. 20 at Taube Family Tennis Center.


Contact Alexa Corse at corsea ‘at’

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