No. 5 Men’s Tennis returns to Forty Acres with doubleheader victory

Daniel Yznaga

The No. 5 Texas Longhorns returned to the 40 Acres Sunday afternoon following a disappointing turnout at the ITA Indoor Nationals. Led by the senior duo of No. 6 senior Christian Sigsgaard and No. 2 senior Yuya Ito, the Longhorns comfortably defended their home turf with a 6-1 win over Nebraska and a 4-3 win over UTSA to remain undefeated at home for the season. 

“They’ve been really tremendous examples throughout the last couple of years, not just this year,” Texas head coach Bruce Berque said of Sigsgaard and Ito. “Anytime you have your best players doing things the right way, that really helps cause people naturally look up to the players that are the best.”

A struggling 2-6 Nebraska Cornhusker team squared off against Texas for the first time in nine years. The Cornhuskers have only beat one team from the Lone Star State this season, with three of their six losses this season coming at the hands of Baylor, SMU and recently UTSA. 

Nebraska looked to come out of the gates swinging at the start of the doubles matches with hopes of stealing a win against a Longhorn team that had just been upset by then-No. 13 Michigan. Nebraska’s fire was quickly snuffed out by the No. 13 duo of Ito and Sigsgaard, who played a pivotal role in capturing the doubles point with a 6-2 victory. With Ito and freshman Siem Woldeab in the lineup, the Longhorns would only lose one point in individual play. 

“I felt like we got better as a team from today,” said Berque. “That was a goal we talked about these last few days.”

The UTSA Roadrunners came to Austin hoping to pick up some experience against their first ranked opponent of the season. With two of their events being called off this season, the Roadrunners held a peculiar 2-3 record. Historically, the Roadrunners haven’t had much to look forward to, as the Longhorns are 25-0 against them since 1975. Texas handily defeated UTSA 6-1 when the teams clashed in Austin last year.

With “The Eyes of Texas” playing across the street at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, the now 9–2 Longhorns kept the East Campus momentum alive with Texas quickly dispatching the Roadrunners in doubles, and Sigsgaard once again playing a pivotal role in the win.

Sigsgaard kept his hot streak alive after the doubles and swiftly swept UTSA’s Sebastian Rodriguez to give Texas the 2-0 lead. Freshman Evin McDonald got his second career victory in his second career match to put the Longhorns up 4–0. 

With the game already clinched for Texas, the Roadrunners saved face with three straight points against a rusty Longhorn bench of freshman Jacob Bullard, sophomore Nevin Arimilli and redshirt freshman Cleeve Harper. 

“It’s a conscious effort, a lot of positive reinforcement for each other,” Berque said. “I think they did a really good job today.”

The No. 5 Texas Longhorns will look to use this doubleheader victory to gain momentum heading into a top-10 match against No. 8 Stanford this Friday in Austin.