Scott narrowly avoids early round upset

Wills Layton

After dropping the first set of Thursday’s match at the Oracle ITA Masters, things did not look good for junior Harrison Scott.

Facing Tim Handel — an unranked sophomore from Northern Arizona University — Scott dropped the first set before recovering just in time to snatch a victory in Malibu, winning the final two sets 6–1, 6–1.

As the No. 22 ranked player in the country, Scott is the only Longhorn playing in California this week. His win sets the Longhorns off to a good start for the weekend, as the rest of the team prepares for play at the Cajun Tennis Classic in Lafayette, Louisiana. 

“(Scott) continues to improve his overall game,” head coach Michael Center said. “I expect Harrison to continue to improve, and we’ll see where it takes him. I’m excited to see what he’s capable of doing this year.”

The first set was a back and forth affair, with little separation between the two players. Handel, who hails from Reutlingen, Germany, earned 52 percent of the total points won, and led Scott in aces by one. The difference came in game-points won, however, where Handel led Scott 83 percent to 67 percent.

The rest of the match told a different story. Scott rebounded with the surprising first set loss by winning 64 percent and 76 percent of the total points won in the final two sets, respectively. 

Scott’s victory earned him a match with California’s freshman Jack Molloy in the next round of the single-elimination tournament. Molloy won his match on Thursday 6-3, 6-4, and will provide the next challenge for Scott
to overcome.

Another storyline to look out for is a possible rematch between Scott and Kentucky junior William Bushamuka. Last year, Scott upset the highly-ranked Bushamuka in the Cajun Tennis Classic, and the two look destined to meet again. But first Scott will need to take care of business against Molloy on Friday.