Howard Joffe

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Longhorn men handle Rice on Saturday

Make that seven straight wins for the Longhorns.

No. 10 men’s tennis handled Rice on Saturday in Houston with a 7-0 victory. The Longhorns didn’t lose a set and improved to 11–2 on the season. It was Texas’ second consecutive 7-0 win after its victory over Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

The match opened with the Longhorns capturing the doubles point for the 10th time in 13 matches this spring. The point was clinched by junior Adrian Ortiz and sophomore Christian Sigsgaard with a 6-1 win over Rice’s Conrad Russell and Jacob Eskeland at second doubles.

In the singles pool, 60th-ranked junior Harrison Scott, who earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors last week, started the Longhorns off with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Rice’s Mohamed Abdel-Aziz. Shortly afterward, sophomore Yuya Ito extended the Longhorns’ lead to 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Sumit Sarkar. Ito skyrocketed in the new edition of ITA singles rankings last week, jumping from No. 118 to No. 46.

The team match was ultimately clinched by junior Colin Markes at sixth singles. After a back and forth first set, Markes squeezed just enough out of the tank to defeat Rice’s Ashton Duke, winning 9-7 in a tiebreaker. Markes cruised through the second set, winning 6-2. Juniors Leonardo Telles and Rodrigo Banzer were both victorious in their respective matches, as well as sophomore Christian Sigsgaard who, like Markes, won a grueling first set by way of 9-7 tiebreaker victory.

Texas head coach Michael Center was pleased at the way his team came out ready to play and produced during crunch time.

“Though there were a few inconsistencies here and there,” Center said. “I thought we really stepped it up when we needed to today.”

The Longhorns will have their work cut out for them this week. They travel to Los Angeles for a matchup against No. 13 USC on Wednesday.

Texas women shred Michigan despite poor weather

After a strong showing last weekend against Ohio State, No. 14 Texas (9–4) wasn’t hindered by the poor weather in returning to dominate another Big Ten opponent — No. 37 Michigan — on Sunday.

Prior to this weekend’s play, the Intercollegiate Tennis Associate updated its team, singles and doubles rankings, which resulted in a lot of movement for the Longhorns. The ranking updates pushed the Texas team and singles rankings higher, and also moved sophomore Bianca Turati back to the top singles spot in the nation. But that wasn’t the biggest surprise from the ITA release.

Following a two-week break from the season, the Texas women returned to play against Ohio State with a different doubles lineup after having suffered consecutive losses at the doubles point to competitive opponents. The change paid off for the Longhorns in a win at the doubles point against Ohio State and launched sophomore Petra Granic and freshman Bojana Markovic to the No. 44 spot on the ITA national doubles rankings. It’s the first time a Texas doubles team has been ranked in weeks.

The changes to the doubles lineup look to have had a lasting impact on the Longhorns, as they began their successful day against Michigan by winning the doubles point, which included a critical win from Texas’ No. 44 tandem Granic and Markovic.

After taking a 1-0 lead, the Longhorns ran away with the win. Freshman Marta Perez-Mur showed no mercy, dropping her opponent 6-0, 6-0 to extend the Longhorns’ lead to 2-0. Soon after, No. 34 sophomore Anna Turati and freshman Bojana Markovic captured consecutive wins to finish off the Wolverines.

Poor weather looked like it could potentially derail the Longhorns from playing outdoors in their brand new Texas Tennis Center, but the two teams stuck it out.

“Just calling it like it is, it was an awful day for tennis,” Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. “I feel like we applied ourselves probably quite a bit better than Michigan today, and that was, more than anything, the difference.”

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte made a resounding proclamation during the ceremony for the new Texas Tennis Center Sunday afternoon.

“This is, by far, the greatest tennis facility in the country,” Del Conte said.

The Longhorns’ brand-new tennis facility, which is located directly north of UFCU Disch-Falk Field, had its grand opening Sunday. The project has been years in the making. Since the retirement of the Penick-Allison Tennis Center at the end of the 2014 spring season, Texas’ tennis program has not had a formal home.

That all changed on Sunday when men’s head coach Michael Center and women’s head coach Howard Joffe cut the ribbon to signify a new beginning for Longhorn tennis.

“It’s a really special day,” Center said. “It warms my heart to see all these people here come to cut a ribbon to open up this facility.”

Many donors and former Longhorn tennis players were in attendance for the ceremony. The new facility, worth over $20 million, features 12 courts along with courtside seating. The facility also houses communication rooms, a weight room and customized lockers for each player.

“It’s amazing to have this facility now,” senior Dani Wagland said. “It’s been four years that we’ve been without one, and I’m incredibly excited to get to play here for my final season.”

Current Longhorn players were wowed by not just the incredible physical features of the new facility but also its intangible ones. The facility looks to create a greater fan atmosphere around Texas tennis, which has been missing since the last facility was torn down.

“(The fans) change the whole dynamic,” junior Katie Poluta said. “It’ll be great to have our own supporters.”

Despite officially opening the new Texas Tennis Center this weekend, the Longhorns were unable to complete their weekend matches at the facility due to weather.

The Longhorns were forced to move their matches to the Weller Indoor Tennis Center — but that didn’t prevent Texas from easily defeating its opponents. The No. 12 Longhorn women looked strong on Saturday, winning 4-0 over UT-Rio Grande Valley and 4-0 over Texas State.

“I was very pleased with our group as whole,” Joffe said. “There’s definitely a lot of rust on us, lots of places we need to get better and some places we were terrific.”

The No. 8 Longhorn men soundly defeated UTSA and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday. Texas rolled past UTSA, 7-0, led by junior Harrison Scott’s 6-2, 6-2 victory over Gabriel Bugiga. The Longhorns finished off the day with a 4-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which was clinched with a 6-2, 6-1 win by junior Colin Markes over Biyik Akinshemoyin.

The Longhorns also broke in their new home with a 4-0 victory over SMU on Sunday.