Sports

Stanford tennis teams have plenty to play for this weekend

 

Riding a season-high seven-match win streak, the nationally No. 36-ranked Stanford men's tennis team finds itself in position to make an even bigger splash this weekend.

The Cardinal (13-4, 4-0 Pac-12) has an opportunity to land two signature victories, hosting No. 15 UCLA on Friday (4 p.m.) and No. 5 USC on Saturday (2 p.m. PT) at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Meanwhile, the No. 13-ranked Stanford women close out their home schedule this weekend, hoping to continue a late-season push while improving its national ranking.

Winners of four in a row, the Cardinal (13-4, 6-2 Pac-12) hosts Washington State on Saturday (10 a.m.) and No. 16 Pepperdine on Sunday (noon).

Admission to all four matches is free.

For the Stanford men, their biggest win of the season is a 4-3 road upset of No. 14 California. The Cardinal, however, is winless in four attempts against top-30 opponents. Stanford has dropped seven in a row to UCLA and nine straight to USC.

But with its next victory, Stanford will match its win total from a 14-6 overall finish last season. The Cardinal, which is unbeaten in eight home matches, is coming off a sweep in the Pacific Northwest last weekend, defeating No. 51 Oregon and No. 59 Washington. The Cardinal also beat visiting Fresno State on Tuesday, 4-1.

The Cardinal boasts two nationally ranked players in singles, led by freshman Tom Fawcett (41) and senior John Morrissey (100). A strong rookie season continues for Fawcett, who leads the club with a 23-7 overall record while playing all of his matches at the No. 1 spot. Morrissey has settled in at the No. 2 position, chalking up a 13-7 overall record while going 11-4 in duals.

Freshman David Wilczynski is the third Cardinal player with at least 20 overall wins while totaling an 11-4 record in duals. Stanford's hottest player at the moment might be senior Robert Stineman, who has won a team-best eight matches in a row.

Everyone on the roster has contributed at some point, with 10 different players competing in at least one dual match.

Morrissey and Stineman comprise the only ranked doubles team, checking in at No. 36 -- thanks to a 9-3 record at the No. 1 spot with five straight wins.

Stanford will host USF on Tuesday and then Cal on April 18 to close out its home schedule.

The Stanford women, meanwhile dropped three spots to No. 13 nationally despite sweeping Pac-12 matches last week. The Cardinal opened the season at No. 8 and has checked in as high as No. 7.

The national individual rankings are a different story, with sophomores Taylor Davidson and Carol Zhao currently occupying the No. 1 spot in doubles. At 24-5 overall and 12-3 in duals, Davidson and Zhao are the first Cardinal tandem to be ranked No. 1 since Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs enjoyed a two-month stay at the top position in 2012.

Davidson and Zhao claimed their first doubles title of the season at the NCTC Classic in January. The pairing also reached the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships in October and earned a runner-up finish at the Riviera ITA All-American Championships in September.

Their success hasn't been limited to doubles, with Davidson and fellow sophomore Caroline Doyle sharing the team lead in overall victories (25). Zhao, who is ranked No. 4 in the country, is right behind with 24 wins. Davidson enters the week ranked No. 16 while Doyle is No. 24. The sophomore trio has combined for a 74-16 record overall and 44-6 mark in duals.

Stanford's depth has proven to be a factor throughout the season. Senior Ellen Tsay (100) and junior Krista Hardebeck (116) also appear in this week's national singles rankings.

After this weekend, Stanford will travel to Berkeley for the April 18 regular-season finale against California. The Golden Bears prevailed 4-3 in the non-counting Pac-12 match on March 1 at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

— Stanford Athletics/Palo Alto Online Sports

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