Tennis roundup: Longhorns prepare for weekend conference schedule

Henry Corwin and Logan Harvill

Longhorn women rise to No. 6 in national rankings

The Longhorn women return to Big 12 play this weekend in hopes of holding onto their unbeaten conference record.

By defeating reigning national champion Florida Gators recently, Texas (14–4, 4–0 Big 12) extended its nine-game winning streak. With a successful run of matches, Texas has seen a consistent rise in the national rankings.

“For one thing, Florida is the defending national champion, and while Texas and Florida are big brand names, the Texas women’s team is starting to become more resurgent versus Florida’s team who is always right there,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said.

On Tuesday, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released their most updated rankings, which pushed multiple Longhorns higher. Texas moved up a spot again, from No. 7 to No. 6. It’s the highest Texas has been since the 2012 season.

In the singles section, star sophomore and Big 12 player of the week, Bianca Turati, maintained her No. 1 spot in the nation. Her sophomore twin sister, Anna, moved to a career-best No. 28. Sophomore Petra Granic moved up 10 spots to No. 67 in singles, and moved up to No. 41 with freshman Bojana Markovic in doubles.

Looking ahead to this weekend, the Longhorns will play TCU (9–9, 0–3 Big 12) on Friday and will return to play Sunday against No. 15 Texas Tech (13–4, 2–1 Big 12).

While the Longhorns will find their biggest competition against the Red Raiders on Sunday, Texas has been red hot recently in singles and doubles play. Earlier in the season, doubles proved to be a serious problem for the Longhorns. But after a small break in the season, Texas has won the doubles point in six of its last nine matches.

The Longhorns will play at TCU’s Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Texas Tech’s McLeod Tennis Center at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

Longhorn men begin Big 12 play against TCU

The Longhorn men begin Big 12 conference play at 2 p.m. on Saturday with a match against TCU at the Texas Tennis Center. The men’s team is 12–4 on the year and coming off a tough loss against Tulane last Thursday in which the Longhorns fell by a score of 4–0.

Texas head coach Michael Center was clearly not happy with the way his team performed from start to finish.

“We’re not competing from the beginning to the end the way we need to,” Center said afterward. “I just never felt like we did the things we needed to get done in order to gain momentum … We never did anything tonight to really take control of the match.”

With Big 12 play beginning, the Longhorns have big plans ahead. Sophomore Yuya Ito, who has been a key piece to the Longhorns this season, will lead the charge as Texas’ usual No. 1 singles player.

“I believe that we can do very well in the regular season, conference and also the conference championship tournament,” Ito said. “For now, the closest goal is to win the conference championship.”

TCU is 13–3 on the season and is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation. The last time the two teams met, TCU got the best of the Longhorns with a 4–1 win in Fort Worth last April.

Rodrigo Banzer’s solid play has put him back in the ITA rankings this week. The junior has won four of his last five singles matches. He currently sits at No. 117 in the nation, joined by three other Longhorns in the top 125.

Junior Leonardo Telles is at No. 106, junior Harrison Scott holds the No. 80 spot, and Ito is the highest-ranked Longhorn at No. 58. The doubles tandem of Banzer and Telles ranks No. 6 in the country.