After almost an hour rain delay, the USF men’s tennis team came out strong and defeated Conference USA rival Marquette 6-1 Friday at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
The rain delay didn’t seem to affect the Bulls, as they dominated the singles matches and swept the doubles.
“They really looked sharp,” USF coach Don Barr said. “Freddy (Federico Barton) played solid, and Jorge (Escallon) was very strong. But I feel that Paco (Antelo) just wasn’t prepared. He didn’t close out the matches like he should have.
“Overall, the doubles were sharp. I was very pleased with their play.”
In one of the most impressive matches of the day, freshman Barton defeated Marquette’s Kent Davies 6-0, 6-2 in the No. 5 singles. Barton made quick work of Davies, finishing him off in a little more than an hour.
“I played very well. I was very focused on my opponent and I came out aggressive,” said Barton. “We really demonstrated why we are ranked 21st in the country. I feel that we learned a lot about ourselves from playing top-ranked teams like Mississippi and Florida. It definitely helped me with my confidence.”
Senior Escallon played a solid match at the No. 6 singles against Creighton Macey, beating him 6-1, 6-2.
“I did really well. The only problem I had was that I started out a little rusty. Other than that, I was very pleased with my performance,” Escallon said. “It’s really important that we win and stay on top of our game so we can get ready for the Conference USA Shootout in March.”
The Bulls will welcome five C-USA contenders Feb. 28 in a preview of the C-USA Tournament.
Escallon believes that being fit and having a lot of confidence are keys to being competitive in the Shootout and throughout the rest of the season, starting Saturday with Colorado.
“Colorado is going to be a good test for us because they are a ranked team,” Escallon said. “They will be a good test for us in order to prepare for the Shootout. If we peak there, it will give us the momentum in March to play the tough top-20 teams.”
The Bulls will play No. 63 Colorado Saturday at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
“Colorado is going to be a tough match for us,” Barr said. “They are coming off a disappointing loss to Auburn 4-3. It will be a good test for our team.”