Stanford and Texas have formed an unlikely rivalry this season.
The first shot was fired when the Longhorns cut down Stanford 4-2 the last time they met at the ITA indoor nationals on Feb. 16. Then, the two clashed again last weekend at the Texas Tennis Center, as the then-No. 12 Stanford women’s tennis team upset the then-No. 3 Texas squad in a close 4-3 victory.
In the third meeting between the two of the year, the No. 4 Texas men’s team and No. 8 Stanford men’s teams will clash on the Forty Acres with more than just a notch in the win column on the line.
The Longhorns are coming off of an impressive homestand last weekend where they earned a doubleheader victory over Nebraska and UTSA. Led by senior Yuya Ito, the No. 2 player in the country, the Longhorns took care of business at home.
“At the end of the day, if I don’t keep working and keep at it, I’ll start losing matches and my ranking will go down,” Ito said. “So my main thing that I have to focus on is to work hard and keep winning as much as I can.”
Stanford will need a victory to prove its worth as a contender during Friday’s grudge match against Texas. The Cardinal has struggled against top-five schools this season, with all three of their losses coming against top-five schools.
The Stanford duo of sophomore Alexandre Rotsaert and junior Axel Geller will be the biggest challenge for the more experienced Texas duo of Ito and senior Christian Sigsgaard. In their last meeting, Rotsaert was able to sweep Sigsgaard while Geller picked up three games on Ito before falling short 6-3 in the last set.
Additionally, the Longhorns’ doubles teams swept both UTSA and Nebraska’s doubles teams. With the doubles squads performing highly, Texas will be a hard team for Stanford to beat.
“I think our doubles improved from this weekend, and I feel like Christian and Yuya played better than they have been playing,” Texas head coach Bruce Berque said following last weekend’s match.
The last time Stanford and Texas met, the difference-maker for Texas came from the doubles side of the competition. Texas’ freshman duo of Jacob Bullard and Eliot Spizzirri defeated Staford junior Timothy Sah and sophomore Sangeet Sridhar in a tiebreaker. Spizzirri, a January enrollee, has yet to miss a match in his first semester as a Longhorn.
“He’s on a different plan,” Berque said about Spizzirri before the season began. “We’re definitely planning on playing him, and I definitely expect him to be a player in both singles and doubles.”
Texas will look to pick up another top 10 victory against No. 8 Stanford and continue its undefeated stretch on the Forty Acres at 5:30 p.m. Friday.