By Shan Reddy
This past weekend, five Stanford men’s doubles duos headed to La Jolla for the 130th Annual Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships, the second-oldest tennis event in the United States. The event was open to all members of the United States Tennis Association, and also featured coaches, assistant coaches, high school players and some former collegiate stars.
Three out of the Cardinal’s five squads drew first round byes. Freshmen Kento Perera and Dean Stratakos took down La Jolla-based tennis coach Brett Buffington and San Diego-native Trent Miller (8-2) before running into Stanford’s senior captain Sameer Kumar and sophomore Timothy Sah in the second round. Fresh off a first round bye, Kumar/Sah defeated their fellow teammates Perera/Stratakos (8-6) shortly before running into USC coaches Peter Smith and Krzysztof Kwinta in the third round.
A legend in California tennis, USC tennis head coach Peter Smith has guided the Trojans to five NCAA championships in the past nine years. A five-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year and two-time ITA National Coach of the Year, Smith showed that his 26 years of coaching have done nothing to diminish his playing ability. Alongside associate head coach Kris Kwinta — 2014’s ITA Southwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year — Smith ended Kumar/Sah’s run (8-6) en route to the Round of 16.
Freshmen Tomas Kopczynski and Sangeet Sridhar paired up for the fifth time this season, and took two matches before falling in the Round of 32 (8-6) to Cal associate head coach Tyler Browne and former Cornell assistant coach Nick Brunner.
Sophomores Axel Geller and Christian Kontaxis crushed Chapman’s Kamemoto/Mead (8-2) in the first round before grabbing a hard-fought second round victory over UCLA alumnus Clay Thompson and freshman Blaine Hovenier (9-7) in the second. Geller/Kontaxis fell to USC’s Bulis/Frye in the next round (8-6).
26-year-old Thompson was the top-ranked NCAA singles player in the nation in his senior year at UCLA; the 6-foot-6 Venice Beach native reached his highest career ATP tour singles ranking of No. 408 internationally back in May of 2016. After falling to Geller/Kontaxis, he and Hovenier took the win in the consolation finals after four straight wins.
Stanford’s top-performing team was the duo of juniors Jack Barber and William Genesen, who boast a 9-4 record on the season including a 7-5 upset of Cal’s No. 42 Molloy/Zincirli last weekend. After a bye in the first round, the duo defeated USD’s Keerasuntonpong/Kurtz (8-6) i the second, SDSU’s Hough/Vinel (8-2) in the third, and Cal’s Barretto/Kaya (8-5) in the Round of 16 before hitting the soon-to-be tournament champions in UCLA assistant coach Johannes (Rikus) de Villiers and freshman Govind Nanda.
The Stanford men’s tennis team will play its next six matches until April 7 at home, with Arizona State next up at 3 p.m. this Friday. The women’s team will travel to Eugene to take on Oregon (6-5) at 11 a.m. this Sunday.
Contact Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu.