Thanks in part to a 6-1, 6-2 win from junior Max Manthou, the Huskies roued Portland on Friday night.
Thanks in part to a 6-1, 6-2 win from junior Max Manthou, the Huskies roued Portland on Friday night.Photo by Joshua Bessex
More often than not, Max Manthou is wearing a smile.
But the grin that broke across Manthou’s face after his Washington men’s tennis team had finished possibly its most difficult and trying two weeks in the entire season was even wider than usual.
“I learned that our team is deserving of top 16, of being a host in the NCAAs,” Manthou said of what the team can take away from its past two weeks. “We’re just turning the corner. We’re good enough; we’re there.”
With a resounding 6-1 win over Portland on Friday, the Huskies (3-2) completed a seven-day stretch that included four matches (three against top-25 teams), a trip to Tulsa, Okla., and a whole slew of injuries and illnesses.
It wasn’t easy, but after emerging with a win over then-No. 17 Tulsa and having fought a competitive match with No. 7 Pepperdine, the UW is walking into the rest of its schedule with high hopes and, more importantly, plenty of confidence.
Manthou made quick work of his opponent at No. 3 singles, where he got the UW’s first singles point by netting an easy 6-1, 6-2 win over Alex Ferrero.
From there, the Huskies just kept rolling.
Sophomores Nick Kamisar and Viktor Farkas both followed Manthou into the winners’ circle with 6-2, 6-2 wins. At No. 5 singles, sophomore Jeff Hawke pulled out a tight straight-set win, 6-4, 7-5, to put the Huskies up 5-0.
The only bump in the road for the UW came at No. 2 singles, in which senior Marton Bots struggled as he continued to return from the wrist injury he suffered in November. Bots was able to stay close throughout the match but gave up late service games in both sets on his way to a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Portland’s Ratan Gill.
Although Bots derailed the UW’s sweep with a loss, he helped clinch the doubles point by pairing with fellow senior Kyle McMorrow. The duo came back from being down an early break to finish with a resounding 8-3 win. Friday was the first time in the dual season that Bots played both doubles and singles.
Hawke and Farkas won the first doubles match by dominating at the No. 3 slot to get an easy 8-0 victory.
Unlike in the past, this year’s Huskies matched up with highly ranked opponents from the very start of the dual season. While going from zero to 60 in no time flat wasn’t a simple task — as evidenced by the UW’s disappointing 6-1 loss to Texas — it does have this team prepared for what lies ahead.
“They have been battle-tested,” head coach Matt Anger said of his team. “We’re not going to see anything different coming up.”
The Huskies will host No. 35 Santa Clara and No. 38 Boise State this coming weekend and Eastern Washington the following weekend. But the premier event of the nonconference schedule comes in three weeks, when the Huskies host 15 of the best teams in the nation for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
This year’s nonconference schedule was one of the UW’s toughest in recent memory. Manthou, at least, enjoyed the ride.
“I prefer it because you don’t have much time to breathe,” he said. “You’re kind of thrown in the water right away and you have to deal with how cold it is.”
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