The Bulls men’s tennis team closed out its USF Spring Invitational Monday and once again a strong showing in singles had to make up for three doubles losses. After the Bulls doubles teams were swept by UCF the previous day, Clemson dominated the Bulls taking all three doubles matches. Coach Don Barr said he would look to adjust his lineup before the season starts.
“We’re just looking at different combinations to see who will fit together,” Barr said. “We technically aren’t playing doubles the way we need to.”
Barr will take the next three weeks to change his lineup before his team travels to Miami for its first match of the year. He said before switching the pairs around he wants to work with his players on doubles technique. Right now, Barr said, his players are playing with a singles mindset in their doubles matches.
“It’s going to take me three weeks before our next match to really get us technically sound in our doubles play,” Barr said. “We had a very good fall in doubles, but we’re playing too much like singles, and we need to change that. We are strictly going to work the next few days on our doubles techniques.”
But while the Bulls struggled in doubles they again showed well in singles, taking four of five matches from the Tigers. USF won 15 of 19 singles matches for the tournament, a definite improvement after the singles players went 30-35 in the fall.
Leading the Bulls was sophomore Federico Barton, who defeated Jermaine Jenkins of Clemson in three sets (6-4, 2-6, 7-5), leaving Barton undefeated for the tournament. Making the wins even more impressive was that Barton was asked by Barr to step up and play at the No. 2 spot because of key injuries to the Bulls usual No. 2 and No. 3 players (Paco Antelo and Karim Benmansour), who are both ranked nationally.
“(Barton) has never played that high before and to step up like that, though I’m sure he was a little nervous trying to prove himself, he did an excellent job,” Barr said.
Also winning in singles were Juan Barragan, Andres Maroldt and Matias Sigal.
Despite the frustration that came from watching six straight doubles losses, Barr said he is comforted by the singles wins and thought his team fared well in the tournament.
“Overall I thought it was a very good tournament for us. We are not where we need to be. We didn’t play our best tennis, but we fought hard, and we got the job done which is important. I’m very pleased. Especially against (Clemson) which was ranked twenty-seventh in the country last year,” Barr said.