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Men’s tennis prepares for the “Big Slam”

Freshman phenom Axel Geller (above) is currently ranked No. 57 in the country for singles. His overall record on the year is 14-3. (JOHN TODD/isiphotos.com)

This Friday on the farm, No. 4 Stanford Men’s Tennis (17-2, 4-1 Pac-12) will face rival No. 31 California (10-6, 2-2) for the second time this season. Fourth in the nation and second in the conference, Stanford is expected to shine against the Bears as the boys prepare for the Pac-12 championships at the end of the month.

The “Big Slam” competition comes on the heels of a successful home match last Saturday, when the Cardinal swept No. 32 Utah (19-4, 2-2) with a score of 4-0.

Stanford last faced Cal on Feb. 24, when the Cardinal bested the Golden Bears 4-1 at Berkeley. The win was made possible by the doubles victories by the pairings of senior Tom Fawcett and sophomore Axel Geller (6-3) and freshman Timothy Sah and senior David Wilczynski (6-2), in addition to Geller’s second singles performance (7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-3).

On Friday, nationally ranked players No. 8 Fawcett (18-4) and No. 57 Geller (14-3) are expected to lead the team in singles victories. Strong performances are also expected from consistent doubles stars No. 87 junior Sameer Kumar (10-3) and Wilczynski, who are currently on a three-match winning streak. Anchored by these players, the team is positioned to increase their 93-23 all-time win record over the Bears, and potentially sweep the team for the first time in a regular season since 2012.

Having only lost to No. 4 UCLA and No. 1 Wake Forest since January, the Cardinal is unlikely to tally any more losses in the regular season. Following Friday, Stanford will host unranked Oregon and Washington on April 20 and 21 respectively, before heading to the Pac-12 conference championships from April 25-28 in Ojai, California.

To root for the Cardinal or against the Bears, come out to Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Friday at 3 p.m. or watch the live stream at: StreamingTennis.com.

Contact Sylvie Ashford at sylviash “at” stanford.edu

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