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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 2 Arizona men’s tennis defeats Oregon, advances to Pac-12 Championship

Wildcats make their first conference tournament championship appearance in program history
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Amelia McAnear

Eric Padgham serves the ball in a doubles match at a game against Pepperdine University on Feb. 3 at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. The Wildcats went on to win the match 6-1. 

Dominant play from the Wildcats continues, as they show no signs of slowing down. However, before they can reach the mountaintop, there’s one final hurdle for the No. 2 seed Arizona men’s tennis team, having successfully pushed past the No. 6 seed University of Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals with a 4-1 victory on Friday, April 26.

Winning their sixth straight game, the Wildcats showcased pristine performance in both singles and doubles play. Oregon’s best efforts were not enough to overcome Arizona. The Ducks’ season ends with a 15-13 record, highlighted by an upset over No. 3 seed UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals. However, facing one of the top-ranked programs in the country, they were ultimately outmatched.

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Oregon – Friday, April 26, 4 p.m. 

In a historic moment for the Arizona men’s tennis program, the Wildcats returned to Libbey Park to face off against the Ducks for a chance to secure their spot in the Pac-12 Championships for the first time ever. Arizona got the job done as it’s done in so many crucial moments this season, coming out victorious with a 4-1 win over Oregon.

As usual, the day started off with doubles matches. Arizona came out a bit sluggish to begin and dropped the doubles point. Despite a strong start from Gustaf Strom and Sasha Rozin, who notched a solid 6-2 victory over Avi Shugar and Vlad Breazu on court three, Oregon swiftly countered with wins on courts one and two. The tandem of Colton Smith and Jay Friend fell short in a tight battle on court one, losing 7-6(2) to Oregon’s Quinn Vandecasteele and Matthew Burton, while Herman Hoeyeraal and Eric Padgham suffered a 6-4 defeat on court two against Lenn Luemkemann and Ray Lo.

Undeterred by the early setback, the Wildcats rallied in singles play, showcasing their resilience and experience in tough spots. Hoeyeraal wasted no time in his singles match to set the tone early and put forth a dominant showing on court four, delivering a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Burton. Following suit, No. 34-ranked Friend came through for the Wildcats in his singles match, delivering a clinical 6-1, 6-2 win over David Cierny on court two. No. 20 Smith continued Arizona’s momentum with a solid 6-4, 6-3 victory over Oregon’s No. 90 Vandecasteele on court one, bringing the score to 3-1 in favor of the Wildcats.

With the match hanging in the balance, it was Casper Christensen who once again, as he’s done so many times this season, sealed the deal for Arizona on court five, clinching the decisive fourth point with a composed 6-2, 6-4 victory over Luemkemann. Although Nick Lagaev held a lead on court six, the victory had already been secured for Arizona, cementing its historic advancement to the Pac-12 Championship Final.

Looking ahead: 

The Wildcats now advance to face No. 1 seed Stanford University in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship, marking their first appearance in the contest. The match will take place on Saturday, April 27, at 5 p.m.


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