By Shan Reddy
No. 11 men’s tennis (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) suffered its first loss of the season on Friday afternoon at Taube Family Tennis Center, falling 1-6 to the No. 3 USC Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12). The match was Stanford’s first speed bump in a slate of road games lasting until Feb. 13, when the Cardinal will head to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.
Freshman Neel Rajesh and junior Axel Geller teamed up in doubles for the team’s only point on the day, defeating Cuckierman/R. Smith (6-4), bringing the early score to 1-1. Cuckierman, the nation’s top-ranked collegiate singles player, bounced back to take down Stanford’s top-ranked singles player, No. 18 Alexandre Rotsaert, in a tightly contested three-set match (6-0, 5-7, 6-3). The match kicked off a five-match winning streak for the Trojans, who cleaned up the Cardinal for the remainder of the game.
The Cardinal bounced back on Saturday afternoon, however, defeating No. 10 UCLA (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) by 4-2 at home. After dropping the doubles point, Stanford surged in singles, highlighted by Geller’s upset of No. 7 Keegan Smith (5-7, 6-2, 6-2); the win clinched victory for the Cardinal.
The men’s team returns to action on Friday against Grand Canyon University.
The No. 1 women’s team (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) tacked onto its winning streak with a victory over Hawaii 6-1 last Thursday at home. Sophomore Niluka Madurawe earned her first dual match win of the season, taking down Madison Kim (6-1, 6-1); senior Sara Choy provided the clincher with a victory over Michelle Pits (6-3, 6-1).
The women’s team heads to Chicago on Friday for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, a weekend tournament that will wrap up on Monday afternoon. The Cardinal enters as the one seed.