After shaking off the rust of a four-day layoff over spring break, the USF men’s tennis team found its touch Tuesday, and finished off unranked Hartford 7-0.
The No. 36 Bulls were given a test early from the Hawks, but eventually the Bulls won the doubles point, defeating the Hawks 8-5, 8-6, 8-5.
“We needed to get back on our games after a few days off,” said Bulls coach Don Barr. “I didn’t want to go up against a dangerous team like Murray State tomorrow and come out rusty like we did today.”
Barr had contacted the Hawks coach after finding out the Green Leaf Resort in Winter Haven had shut down recently. Hartford had flown down here and was planning on practicing at the resort, so they were more than happy to come to Tampa and get a little action in.
In singles action, Barr gave his top two players, Paco Antelo and Martin Wetzel, the day off, although Wetzel did participate in doubles play.
With Antelo and Wetzel resting, senior Dan McCain was given the opportunity to play at No. 1 in singles, and he went up against the Hawks’ Pedja Zdravkovic, the No. 1 player from the Yugoslavian national team.
McCain took full advantage of the opportunity, taking out Zdravkovic 6-3, 6-2.
The Bulls swept through the other singles matches, as well. Uli Kiendl took out previously undefeated Patrick Flint 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2, and Adrian Meier also “loved” his opponent, defeating Evan Sideman 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 5 position.
Nadim Naser defeated Clint Broadie 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3. At No. 4, Jorge Escallon, ranked No. 118, defeated Jeff Hurlbert 6-2, 6-3, and at No. 6 Jit Shah defeated Chris Hartman 6-4, 6-0.
“We got sharper as the match went on,” Barr said. “I felt it was very good to get a couple of matches under our belt so we can come out strong out of the gate tomorrow.”
The Bulls will need to be sharp at the start against Murray State, a team that poses a very dangerous doubles opposition that almost took out then No. 13 Mississippi State (now No. 22) in losing 2-1 in doubles play.
“We have to build our confidence against the ‘dangerous teams,'” Barr said. “And Murray State definitely is dangerous.”
- Chris Lemke covers men’s tennis and can be reached at email@example.com