By Amita Gondi
No. 3 Stanford women’s tennis (18-1, 9-0 Pac-12) extended its winning streak to 13 matches with wins over No. 46 Utah (12-9, 2-6 Pac-12) and Colorado (10-12, 3-6 Pac-12) over the weekend. No. 12 Stanford men’s tennis (14-5, 3-3 Pac-12) won a tight battle over arch-rival No. 40 California (11-10, 3-3 Pac-12) on Sunday.
Stanford women’s tennis started the two-match road trip to Salt Lake City with a thumping 7-0 win over Utah on Friday afternoon. With four available players, Utah was forced to forfeit one doubles match and two singles matches, giving a huge edge to the Cardinal on a platter. The Stanford women leveraged it with early wins in doubles and continued their dominance as they swept past the Utes in the singles as well as in straight sets.
The Cardinal women then traveled to Boulder, Colorado for Sunday’s meeting with Colorado. Stanford’s momentum carried over to Sunday, as the Cardinal women breezed past Colorado 4-0. After going up a set in doubles, junior Emma Higuchi delivered a straight-set 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 6, while sophomore Michaele Gordon contributed a 6-1, 6-1 triumph at the No. 1 position.
Senior Melissa Lord, the Pac-12 Player of the Week, sealed the win for the Cardinal with a 6-1, 6-2 win against the Buffaloes, placing the Cardinal atop the Pac-12 standings with one match remaining in the regular season.
On the men’s side, the biggest win for Stanford came against California on Saturday at Berkeley, CA in a closely fought 4-3 battle. Saturday’s win was extremely important for seeding in the upcoming conference tournament. With Stanford’s top player, sophomore Axel Geller, out for the third consecutive match, the men entered this weekend having dropped three of the last four competitions, including two consecutive losses against ranked opponents — No. 13 UCLA and No. 11 USC — at the end of March.
The Cardinal stepped up and won Saturday’s dual with Cal. Stanford claimed the first two doubles points, with quick wins from the No. 1 pair of senior Sameer Kumar and sophomore Timothy Sah (6-4) and No. 3 freshman pair of Alexandre Rotsaert and Sangeet Sridhar (6-3).
The Golden Bears came back strong with straight set wins at No. 1 and No. 5 in the singles. While Sridhar capped his sixth dual win of the season with a win at No. 6, Sah dropped a hard-fought battle 7-6(1), 7-6(6).
The Cardinal men found themselves trailing 3-2. It all came down to veterans Kumar and William Genesen as they competed at No. 3 and No. 2, respectively. While Kumar bounced back quickly from a blip in the second set, losing 1-6, he leveraged his experience to win 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
All eyes then turned toward Genesen and Cal’s Jack Molloy to decide the match. Genesen lost the first set 6-3 as tension rose in the Stanford camp, with the season-ending conference championships looming closely. Genesen won the second set 6-4 and took an early 4-1 lead in the third before Molloy cut it close to 5-4, feeding off of a packed crowd at Berkeley. Similar to his teammate Kumar, Genesen refused to give in as he broke Molly to claim the match 6-4 as Stanford celebrated the rivalry win.
The Stanford women will take on California on Saturday at noon in Berkeley, while the men will continue their road stretch with a trip to Eugene, Oregon for an afternoon game against Oregon on Friday.
Contact Amita Gondi at agondi ‘at’ stanford.edu.