Stanford’s No. 3 ranked men’s tennis team (16-2, 3-1 Pac-12) split a road series versus No. 4 ranked UCLA (19-2, 4-0) and No. 14 USC (12-6, 3-1) this past weekend, falling to the Bruins on Friday before taking down the Trojans on Saturday. The loss on Friday was only the Cardinal’s second of the season.
In a clash of two top-4 seeds, and a potential look into the postseason, the Bruins came out of the gate firing, routing the Cardinal with a 4-0 victory. A quick victory in doubles put the Bruins out in front, with the No. 25 ranked senior/freshman pairing of Tom Fawcett and Axel Geller dropping 6-4, losing for just the fourth time all season, while the unranked senior/freshman pairing of David Wilczynski and Timothy Sah dropped 6-3, only the third time the pairing has faltered.
UCLA boasts the nation’s number one ranked singles player, Martin Redlicki, and Stanford’s No. 10 ranked Fawcett faced the difficult challenge of playing him in the #1 singles spot. Fawcett jumped out to a 1-0 set lead, taking Redlicki down in a tiebreaker 7-6, before the game was cut short due to UCLA’s clinching of the match.
Juniors Sameer Kumar and Michael Genender, in addition to Geller, lost their matches in two sets, setting up a quick Bruin victory and a short match on Friday afternoon. Graduate student Eric Fomba, sophomore William Genesen, and Fawcett were not able to complete their games. This loss snapped a seven game Cardinal winning streak, and was the first time the Cardinal were shut out all season.
The Cardinal bounced back in a big way, however, as they headed to USC and took down the Trojans on Saturday. This division win puts the Trojans in a tie for second place alongside the Cardinal, while the Bruins still sit atop the competition.
The Cardinal once again lost the doubles point, and fell further behind as Genesen lost in two quick singles sets, setting the Stanford men at a 0-2 deficit. The team rallied and won four straight singles matches to clinch the victory, which was finalized when Fomba took down his opponent in a third set.
Fawcett defeated USC’s top ranked player, No. 9 ranked Brandon Holt, in three sets to tip the scales in favor of the Cardinal. Geller, currently ranked No. 50 in the country, also scored a ranked win, taking down No. 67 Daniel Cukierman.
The Cardinal continue Pac-12 play this Saturday, when they host Utah at Taube Family Tennis Center.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu.