Men’s tennis defeats UNLV, Denver

BYU’s Patrick Kawka returns the ball against UNLV on Friday. The Cougars won both matches this weekend. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

The BYU men’s tennis remained unbeaten at home after taking down UNLV and Denver.

The Cougars are now 9–0 at home this season after this weekend’s matches. The Cougars defeated UNLV 5–1 on Friday and then returned on Saturday to beat No. 52 Denver 5–1.

The Cougars are on a four-match winning streak, and after defeating Denver, have beaten four ranked opponents this season.

“It was a great team win,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said.

The 5–1 victory over Denver was anything but easy for the Cougars. They were just able to snag the doubles point and then were taken to three sets in all but one match in singles play.

BYU started well with the doubles team of junior Patrick Kawka and sophomore Francis Sargeant defeating Denver’s top tandem 8–5. However, Denver came back with a win from Henry Craig and Jens Vorkefeld on Court 2.

With the point on the line, BYU’s sophomore Keaton Cullimore and freshman John Pearce fought back from an early deficit to win their match and the crucial doubles point against the Pioneers’ Alex Clinkenbeard and Fabio Biasion.

“I think that win was huge,” Brad Pearce said. “Going into the singles now knowing we only had to win three matches was a great way to start.”

The Cougars were able to take control of the match in singles play. On Court 2, senior Spencer Smith was the first Cougar to grab a point with his victory over Vorkefeld 6–4, 7–6.

No. 74 Kawka followed suit with his victory over Denver’s Enej Bonin, who is ranked No. 47 in the country, 6–7, 6–1, 6–0. It appeared Bonin injured his hamstring at the beginning of the second set. He was treated by the trainer at the beginning of the third set, but was not able to recover.

With a 3–0 lead, Sargeant gave the Cougars the vital fourth point with his win over Max Krammer in a hotly contested match.

“I got off to a quick start,” Sargeant said. “In the third set it was back and forth when I finally started to find my range and managed to close it out. It was a fun match to play.”

Sargeant won the first match handily 6–3 but then lost the second set 4–6. He came back strong in the third set to defeat Krammer 6–2.

Craig picked up Denver’s only point with his 6–3, 2–6, 7–6 win over Cullimore.

John Pearce won his match after Biasion retired because of an injury, and freshman Andrey Goryachkov didn’t finish his match because the match had already been decided in the Cougars’ favor.

On Friday, the Cougars defeated UNLV handily 5–0 and only dropped one set the entire evening.

“I’m surprised we took care of UNLV like we did,” Coach Pearce said. “I’m gaining a lot of confidence in our team. I think we’re pretty good.”

The Cougars won the doubles point with two victories and the third match was called once the point had been decided in the Cougars favor.

In singles play, BYU defeated UNLV in straight sets in three matches with only Smith and UNLV’s Tamas Batyi going a full three sets. Smith still came away with the win though, 6–3, 4–6, 7–5.

John Pearce and Goryachkov won the first set in their matches before they were called because the matches had again already been decided in BYU’s favor.

BYU will play rival Utah on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Indoor Tennis Courts.

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