Doubles matches key against Miami

After the USF Invitational, Coach Don Barr said it would take three weeks before he could get his doubles pairs playing at a high level.

Three weeks later, he said he thinks his guys are ready.

“At least technique-wise, we’re playing a lot better doubles. I am very happy with the doubles,” Barr said. “With singles, I think we were pretty much on target so I think we’re going to be ready for them.”

Barr looks to build upon past success against Miami on Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

“We’ve had, through the years, very good success with Miami and we’ve always seemed like when we jumped on them they tend to kind off back off a little bit,” Barr said. “I think the doubles will either give them a momentum swing or maybe put them a step behind and I know they don’t want to be a step behind.”

The Bulls go into the match ranked No. 34 while Miami sits right behind them at No. 35.

“We just have to go down there and be ready for the heat and be ready for a hard battle because it’ll be tight,” Barr said. “It was very tight in the spring and we always seem to fight pretty good against each other so it should be a good match.

“They know usually our team is always much stronger in singles than doubles and if they lose the doubles point they know they really have their hands full. I think that’s the key. A lot of teams know that we have very strong singles and if we can come out winning that point I think it really puts a lot of pressure on them to win four out of six matches, which is very tough to do.”

Senior Karim Benmansour is still out with a back injury, but the rest of the team is healthy and ready to go, Barr said. He added that he is excited to get the season started.

“I just want to focus on our level of play, where we are at, and that we finish strong and that we compete well,” Barr said. “The biggest thing is that we start off the season really competing with some intensity. I think that’s the key, and if we learn to come out and do that we should be fine this year.

“We’ve got to come out going after the team right from the first hit. We’ve got to go out and start dictating the point and start controlling the match right from the beginning and I think that’s going to be a big key for us.”

Bulls host Hatters on Saturday

The USF women’s tennis team hosts Stetson Sunday for its second match of the season in what coach Gigi Fernandez called a “warm-up.”

Stetson is coming off a 7-0 loss to FSU. The Hatters host Embry-Riddle on Saturday before traveling to USF to play the Bulls on Sunday.

The Bulls are also coming off a tough loss themselves, though, losing to Jacksonville. After the Bulls lost to the Dolphins 4-3 on Jan. 23, they escaped from a match against No. 1 Florida because of inclement weather.