With months before the start of conference play, the Washington men’s tennis team will be travelling and competing in regional tournaments to prepare for the approaching 2019 season. Over the weekend, fans got one of their first glimpses of this year’s squad, when it hosted the ITA Regional Championships at Nordstrom Tennis Center.
The Huskies showed out well over the weekend, finding success in both the singles and doubles draws. Although the Dawgs did not have any singles players advance deep into the tournament, UW players won a combined total of 16 matches in the draw, more than any other team including tennis powerhouses such as Stanford and Oregon.
The highlight of the weekend came in the final of the men’s doubles draw on Monday afternoon, where Washington duo Jack Davis and Piers Foley faced off against Oregon pairing Joshua Charlton and Thomas Laurent.
It took a while for Davis and Foley to find momentum in the match, and they quickly lost the first set 2-6. Heading into the second set, finding a solution to the big serves and solid play of the Ducks was crucial for the Huskies. The second set was much more competitive, and it was clear that head coach Matt Anger had calmed his team down during the break. The set went back and forth, with neither team earning more than a two-game lead. An hour or so into the set, the Huskies found themselves down 4-5 and facing two match points.
With their backs against the wall, Davis and Foley came surging back, and broke Oregon to bring the set back to level. The second set went to a tiebreaker and again, with their backs against the wall, down 4-6 in the tiebreak, the Dawgs won four straight points to make the score 8-6 and command the lead in the tiebreak, which they later won.
“We started executing, and we were a little more active,” Anger said. “We started closing and finishing much better at the net when we were getting the opportunities to do so.”
The third-set tiebreak was just as competitive as the second set, and came down to a few key bounces. With neither team able to take a commanding lead, the Ducks eked out an 10-8 victory in the tiebreaker to win the match and doubles final.
Even though the final result was not ideal, the Huskies gave a glimpse of how successful they could be this season.
“I’m really excited about the depth of our team,” Anger said. “A lot of guys were winning matches. It’s great to see our young guys doing well and improving right in front of our eyes, I’m very excited about the progress they are making.”
The Huskies will look to build off of last weekend’s success when they head to the Jack Kramer Invitational in California on Nov. 1.
Reach contributing writer Caden Conder at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @cadenmconder