After another lengthy break, the University of Memphis men’s tennis team (10-9, 1-1 AAC) returned to the action playing three matches in three days.
They participated in the annual San Diego Classic, hosted by San Diego State and the University of San Diego. The Tigers continued to maintain their composure in the face of a three-game losing streak. Memphis also ended its non-conference schedule as well, which included two conference matches against Wichita State in the past month.
Chris Patzanovsky, the lone senior on the team, came in with a 10-4 record leading the team, having played the No. 1 position the whole season. Freshmen duo David Stevenson and Oscar Cutting came in ranked No. 30 in the ITA/Oracle national rankings in doubles with a 7-5 record. Cutting also continues to excel in singles play in his first year with a 10-2 record having played at the 4, 5 and 6 positions.
The Tigers had a difficult opening round match against co-host San Diego (11-3, 4-0 WCC), ranked No. 36 nationally. Although Memphis dropped the opening doubles point, the Toreros were forced into two tiebreakers before knocking out duos Cutting/ Stevenson and Matt Story/Jeremy Taylor. They both got the wrong end of the stick with 7-6 and 6-6 (unfinished) results. Jan Pallares/Patrick Sydow also fell 6-0.
In single play, Sydow, Stevenson and Pallares all dropped both sets, giving San Diego the win. The Tigers couldn’t overcome this momentum, but they did give a valiant effort as Patzanovsky lost a tiebreak in his first set against Gui Osori, ranked No.67, by the score of 7-5 and left the second set unfinished as the Toreros claimed the win in straight sets on courts 6, 5 and 2.
Memphis faced a familiar foe last Saturday, the Shockers, and proceeded to get their revenge with a 4-2 win after losing the first matchup 3-4 in Wichita. The win broke their four-game losing streak, headlined by Story’s 6-4, 7-5 tiebreak clinch against Wichita’s Eddie Stoica.
The doubles point was a difficult fight for Memphis after the duo of Cutting/Stevenson fell at the top spot. Fortunately for the Tigers, Pallares/Sydow and Story/Taylor prevented the Shockers from claiming the opening point, winning 6-3 and 7-5 respectively.
Cutting, Taylor and Story then went on to overcome loses at the top spots in singles action to claim the 4-2 win for the Tigers, all within two sets, leading the Tigers to double-digit wins on the year.
San Diego State
After a conference win in California, Memphis went into their final match in the San Diego Classic against co-host San Diego State. Momentum didn’t carry on from Saturday for the Tigers who struggled in doubles action with both Cutting/Stevenson and Story/Taylor suffering 6-3 loses. Pallares/Sydow’s match was left unfinished at 5-4 in favor of the Aztec duo of Jan Kirchhoff/Fabian Roensdorf.
Memphis fought back with Pallares, winning 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 2 spot. It was his first singles win since Feb. 10 against LSU. Turner Vogues suffered a loss at the No. 6 spot to give San Diego State the lead again until Cutting typed it at two overall, with a 7-5, 6-3 win at the No. 5 spot. The Aztecs once again earned a win at the No. 1 spot, and Story earned the Tiger’s last win of the day at court 4. Taylor was on the wrong end of the clinching match that came down to the wire in three sets, suffering a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 loss.
What’s next for the Tigers
The Tigers will look for their 11th win of the season at Tulsa next Tuesday at 2 p.m. They will play one of their final five games of the regular season that will include three away and two home matches against AAC foes.