The eighth-ranked Longhorn men’s tennis team opened the year up at home with a dominating 6–1 victory over SMU — its 18th-straight win over the in-state rival Mustangs — and moved to 2–0 on the season.
Texas got on the board first with a doubles win (6-1) by Yuya Ito and freshman Chih Chi Huang over SMU’s Michael Smith and Andrew Buhelos. Ito and Huang went on to win their singles matches as well, with Huang winning a tiebreak (46, 6-1, 1-0 ). The duo split the first two sets with SMU’s Gerdiner Perotti, while Ito dominated Roberto Rosales (6-0, 6-2).
The 18th-ranked Ito said momentum between matches was a positive factor.
“(Winning the doubles match) carried over into singles, where I started well,” Ito said. “My opponent was tough in the second set, but I was able to get over him.”
The seniors pairing of Colin Markes and Leonardo Telles defeated SMU’s Avery Pennywell and Tomas Vaise (6-1). Telles would go on to defeat Vaise in a singles match (6-4, 6-2) after a competitive first set.
“My opponent was a tricky player, having a great serve and being a lefty,” Telles said. “I struggled in the beginning to find my way into service games but got more confident as the match went on.”
Telles and 33rd-ranked senior Harrison Scott (6-4, 6-4) won their matches simultaneously to secure the 6-1 victory for the Longhorns, with the only loss being at the hands of No. 51 Carles Sarrio over No. 4 Christian Sigsgaard (6-4, 6-0).
Head coach Michael Center felt there were ways the Longhorns could still improve, however.
“(SMU) was improved and more aggressive than they have been,” Center said. “We were pretty good, but inconsistent today.”
Center continued, “There were so many momentum swings in the matches that we can’t get too worked up …. We talk strategically, we never worry about whether we are ahead or behind at that moment.”
Texas continues this weekend as it hosts the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Texas Tennis Center, hosting Washington, Miami and Utah State. The Longhorns take on the Huskies while the Hurricanes will play the Aggies at 2 p.m. on Friday. The consolation and championship matches will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday.