The Stanford men’s tennis team enjoyed mixed fortunes on the first day of the season-ending NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, as senior Bradley Klahn upset No. 4 seed Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia in straight sets, while senior Ryan Thacher fell to Texas Tech’s Gonzalo Escobar.
The result leaves Klahn, an at-large entrant into the tournament, as the Cardinal’s sole representative in the singles tournament. However, Klahn is gaining momentum at just the right time to make a run at the same singles title he claimed in 2010 on the same University of Georgia courts.
Klahn’s match against Jenkins was the second time in four days the pair had faced off — when the Cardinal fell to the Cavaliers in the team tournament quarterfinals on Sunday, their match was abandoned with Jenkins up by a set. Klahn again started slowly on Wednesday, conceding a break early on to fall behind in the first set.
However, Klahn stepped up his game when it counted, rallying to take the first set 7-5. With the match’s momentum having clearly shifted, the second set offered fewer tests as Klahn clinched a 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Although Klahn’s season has been disrupted by injury and shifts in the lineup, his recent singles performances confirmed his history of rising to the occasion in the postseason. Of his last 14 singles matches, Klahn has lost just twice, both times to the two-time defending national champion, USC’s Steve Johnson. Having now knocked out Jenkins, the top seed in his quarter of the draw, Klahn will hope to go deep in the tournament once again.
For Thacher, meanwhile, the result marks a second disappointing year in the singles event, having last year pushed No. 4 seed Blaz Rola of Ohio State to the brink before losing in three sets. This year, Thacher was favored against Escobar but started slowly and never regained momentum en route to a 6-3, 7-6 (5) loss.
Klahn will next face Remi Boutillier of Fresno State in singles today. Klahn and Thacher will also pair up for doubles play today, facing Niall Fitzgerald and Casey Watt of Notre Dame in the first round.