By Shan Reddy
The No. 10 Stanford men’s tennis team (7-2) fell to the No. 13 Virginia Cavaliers (9-2) last Friday in the first round of the ITA Division 1 National Men’s Team Indoor Championships. The weekend-long tournament was hosted by the University of Illinois and played at the Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago.
Kicking off the season on a hot streak, the Cardinal won their first four consecutive matches with a combined record of 20 dual match wins to only one loss through January. That streak came to a screeching halt after a pummeling 1-6 defeat at the hands of the undefeated, No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0). The team bounced back with a hard-fought 4-3 win over the No. 5 USC Trojans (6-5) on the heels of the tournament weekend in Chicago.
The Cardinal had a tough draw in the tournament and were scheduled for a first round match against the Cavaliers, a team that has outshined expectations this season. After winning its first four matches of the season, Virginia pulled off a stunning 7-0 upset of then-ranked No. 1 Wake Forest (12-2). The Demon Deacons have since dropped to third in the nation, but the loss to Virginia halted their six-game season-opening winning streak.
Virginia dominated singles play against the Cardinal, taking four out of the five matches. Senior captain Sameer Kumar earned Stanford its only singles win with a victory over No. 68 Gianni Ross (6-2, 6-4).
In doubles, the Cardinal took two out of the three matches as Geller/Rotsaert handily defeated Soderlund/Woodall (6-1), and Kumar/Sah took down Wiersholm/Nakashima (6-4). The third match between Barber/Genesen and Ross/Goetz was stopped with the score at 5-4 after the Cavaliers clinched the win in singles with a final score of 4-2 on the day.
Stanford played No. 19 Tulane (4-6) on Saturday afternoon and blanked the Green Waves in a 4-0 win. Kumar and No. 10 sophomore Axel Geller each grabbed tightly-contested two-set singles wins, and freshman Sangeet Sridhar earned his fourth career win with a takedown of No. 76 Tyler Schick (6-2, 7-6).
The win over Tulane moved Stanford on to play No. 4 Florida (6-2) on Sunday night. Freshman Alexandre Rotsaert was first off the court with a win over No. 67 Sam Riffice (6-4, 6-2), joined shortly after by Geller, who dominated No. 20 Oliver Crawford (6-2, 6-1). After dropping the first set against McClain Kessler, Timothy Sah stormed back (2-6, 7-5, 7-5) in a marathon match to clinch the 4-1 win for the Cardinal.
After a long run on the road, Stanford returns home for an eight-game stretch kicking off this Friday against UC Davis (6-2) at 2 p.m. at Taube Tennis Stadium.
Contact Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu.