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M. Tennis: Card cruises past Santa Clara, Nebraska

The Stanford men’s tennis team continued its impressive season last weekend, hosting and defeating No. 54 Santa Clara on Friday and No. 41 Nebraska on Saturday. The No. 8 Cardinal won both matches with ease, blanking the Broncos, 4-0, before cruising past the Corn Huskers, 6-1.

Stanford head coach John Whitlinger said at the beginning of the weekend that these two matches were about “getting our feet underneath us, getting a little confidence going and performing at a high level.”

The convincing pair of wins, which came after Stanford’s season-opening 7-0 victory over Sacramento State on Jan. 25, put the Cardinal exactly in line with that goal.

Friday’s contest versus Santa Clara was shortened due to wet court conditions from the previous night’s rain, but the match lasted long enough for Stanford to secure the 4-0 shutout. Despite the two-hour and 20-minute delay, the Cardinal came out firing with two quick doubles victories to secure the match’s pivotal first point.

Junior Ryan Thatcher, above, scored a 6-2, 6-2 singles victory out the No. 2 spot against Santa Clara. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

Junior Ryan Thatcher and senior Greg Hirshmann, playing out of the No. 2 and No. 5 spots, both scored quick 6-2, 6-2 victories in singles play. That left Stanford’s No. 1 player, junior Bradley Klahn, to finish the match by defeating the Broncos’ Kyle Dandan 6-4, 6-4, earning Stanford its fourth win and clinching point.

In addition to looking to build on momentum from the win over Sacramento State, the Cardinal needed a strong weekend to clinch a berth in the prestigious National Team Indoor Championships. Stanford’s victory over Nebraska on Saturday sealed a trip to trip to Seattle for the February event, an important achievement for any high-aspiring team early in the dual-match season.

Despite upsetting the Vanderbilt Commodores a day before, Nebraska stumbled out of the gate on Saturday. The Cornhuskers were blitzed early and often by the Cardinal, starting with a doubles match that took a mere 42 minutes.

All of Stanford’s big guns came through in the singles matches, with each of the top-five matches going Stanford’s way. The Cardinal was anchored by Klahn, who fought hard in a tough match to defeat Nebraska’s No. 1 player, Christopher Aumueller, 7-6 (0), 7-6 (4). The lone defeat of the day for the Cardinal, and its only loss of the year, came when Nebraska’s Sebastian Florczyk defeated sophomore Matt Kandath, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, in the No. 6-spot game.

Stanford’s next match is set for Thursday, Feb. 3rd, at home against Texas Tech.