| 03.18.2018

Sophomore fueling Idaho’s winning streak


A tennis player starting the season 8-0 in singles competitions is undoubtedly impressive — doing so after not having competed in years is surprising.
Well, surprising to most people that is. Vandal sophomore Dmitry Perevoshchikov, who owns that flawless record and was named Western Athletic Conference Tennis Player of the Week two weeks ago, said it is simply the result of hard work.mtennis2-022513“If you work hard it’s going to come,” Perevoshchikov said. “So, I’m not actually surprised I did pretty well at the beginning of the season.”
Perevoshchikov, a 22-year-old from Izheusk, Russia, certainly had to work hard to get back into playing form.  Before becoming a Vandal, he took two years off from competiton to coach a tennis player in Spain.  Then he was forced to sit out his freshman season at Idaho when the NCAA deemed him ineligible due to his participation in tournaments 12 months after graduating from high school.
Coach Jeff Beaman said Perevoshchikov had to work at regaining his focus after those few years of not playing.
“When you’re not playing, you lose your competitive edge,” Beaman said.  “That’s something – a lot of players never have it – but to play at a high level, being able to focus, deal with adversity, adjust under pressure.  It’s something that you can’t just mentally have.  It’s developed. It’s maintained.”
It appears Perevoshchikov has gained back that competitive edge.  He has played and won at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles position all season, despite having to deal with a nagging foot injury.  Two weeks ago, he earned two straight match wins at No. 1 against Utah State and Weber State.   He followed that by getting a crucial victory last weekend at No. 1 to help Idaho beat a competitive University of Portland team 4-3, then won in straight sets against Portland State to help Idaho improve to 9-0 on the season.  In singles matches, Perevoshchikov and seniors Abid Akbar (4-2) and Marius Cirstea (6-1) form a formidable trio at the top of the lineup that is a big reason for Idaho’s unblemished record.
Perevoshchikov may not be surprised by his success thus far in the season, but he has surpassed Beaman’s expectations.
“I expected him to do well but, honestly, dealing with his injury, dealing with the time he took off, dealing with playing high in the lineup, it’s impressive,” Beaman said.  “It is a bit of a surprise that he’s been able to pull through matches with that large gap of time of not playing competitively.”
Perevoshchikov had a prolific tennis career before coming to Idaho.  He was ranked as the top under-12 Russian player and was a top-five player in the under-14 category.  He competed in professional tournaments as an amateur and earned several wins over ranked pros.  He played in Spain for almost five years, making the semifinals of the Spain F22 Futures tournament and the quarterfinals of the Spain F3 Futures tournament.
Perevoshchikov said playing against the pros in Spain gave him an advantage when he came to the states because it taught him how to play smarter.
“In college tennis, there are a lot of guys that have really good strokes like in pro tennis,” Perevoshchikov said.  “But the way professional players think – it’s different on the tennis court.  So that’s probably why I learned a lot from that.”
He then took two years off to focus on coaching a player competing in the under-18 division in Spain as a way to earn money.  Perevoshchikov wanted to get a college degree, so he looked to the states for an opportunity to compete again while getting an education.  His sister Maria, who played at Idaho from 2008-2010, along with Beaman, convinced him to become a Vandal.
Though he could not play in matches, Perovoshchikov still practiced with the team.  He said he used that time to work on getting back to the level he played at in Spain.
Beaman said Perevoshchikov’s natural talent was not affected by the time off and is a major reason why he has progressed so quickly in his return to competition.
“You have a base level,” Beaman said, referring to an athlete’s natural ability.  “His base level is higher than most people in college.”
Perevoshchikov, who is studying business information systems, said he would like to turn pro in the future if he can stay healthy.  He said he tried to play professionally before playing at Idaho but too many injuries prevented him from doing so.  If this season is any indication, though, Perevoshchikov has shown a knack for fighting through injury and Beaman said this determination is what makes him successful.
“Some people, they let injuries affect them,” Beaman said.  “Others, it limits them but they don’t look for excuses.  That’s something that he’s really good at.  Whether he’s injured or frustrated at the level he’s playing, he goes out and figures out how to win.”
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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