It wasn’t easy, but the Idaho men’s tennis team added two more wins to its perfect record Saturday in Portland.
Idaho battled against the University of Portland (6-3) Saturday morning and escaped with a 4-3 win in what was their closest match this season. After waiting six hours to play again, the Vandals rolled against Portland State 7-0 to boost their record to 9-0 on the season.
Sophomore Dmitry Perevoshchikov kept his own winning streak alive by winning two singles matches at the No.1 position to improve to 8-0 on the season. He struggled in his first match against Portland’s Ratan Gill, who won the first set 7-6. Gill then retired during the second set, which Perevoshchikov led 5-2, and Idaho would earn the point. Perevoshchikov had an easier time against Portland State as he won in straight sets against Antoine Bechmann.
Assistant coach Andrew Dobbs said that as long as Perevoshchikov keeps his confidence up, he has a chance to become one of the best players in the country.
“He knows he can play with any one of these guys,” Dobbs said.
Perevoshchikov and the rest of the Vandals faced a tough test against a Portland team that took three of the six singles matches. Senior Abid Akbar lost at No. 2, senior Marius Cirstea fell in three sets at No. 3 and sophomore Jose Bendeck lost at No. 5. Idaho did pick up a win in the No. 4 spot thanks to sophomore Cesar Torres, who lost the first set 6-0 but bounced back to take the next two sets and the win. Sophomore Cristobal Ramos Salazar also won the last two sets to win at No. 6.
The doubles matches proved to be the difference-maker for Idaho. Akbar and Cirstea won 8-2 at No. 1, giving them their eighth doubles victory this season. Perevoshchikov and senior Ivan Krijanto fell at the No. 3 spot with a score of 8-4, but Ramos Salazar and Bendeck pulled off a close 8-6 win at No. 2.
Idaho had to wait the entire afternoon to play Portland State, but the long delay did not seem to affect them. The Vandals swept the doubles matches and the singles matches, winning all but one in straight sets. It was their fifth shutout of the season.
Akbar came back strong after falling against Portland by winning at No. 2. Torres won at No. 3, Bendeck won at No. 4 and Ramos Salazar and Krijanto took the No. 5 and No. 6 match wins.
Idaho mixed up the lineup for the doubles matches by pairing Perevoshchikov and Akbar at No. 1, where they won 8-3. Torres and Krijanto teamed up to win 8-4 at No. 3 and Ramos Salazar and Bendeck won their second doubles match of the day 8-3 at No. 2.
Dobbs said that getting two wins, one against a tough Portland team, on the road during a long day took focus and maturity from the team. He said a weekend like that will benefit them in future matches.
“It was good for them to get a long trip like that under their belt,” Dobbs said. “There will be more trips like that down the road.”
Idaho will face the University of Montana and Montana State in Missoula on March 2.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at email@example.com