It’s amazing how quickly dead silence can turn into deafening joy.
A sigh of relief and cheers of excitement erupted from the Student Tennis Center as Ivailo Keremedchiev capped his singles match with a 6-1 third set and pushed No. 52 Oregon (6-4) to a score of 4-1, sealing the victory over the Denver Pioneers (5-5).
It’s hard to lose a game you never hang out in.
Oregon was all over the No. 46 seed on Thursday night. Whenever it looked like Denver might pioneer a comeback, Oregon added.
When Quinn Vandecasteele fell in second place to Matt Summers, Joshua Charlton backed him up. His dominant day saw Charlton walk over Denver’s Nicolas Herrero Cuesta to a 6-0, 6-3 victory.
Charton’s victory erased all the damage Summers had caused and gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead. It also added to an impressive season for the junior which currently sees him sitting 81st in the singles rankings.
“It’s just about recreating the energy there,” Oregon coach Nils Schyllander said. “Show them you’re not leaving. It takes a lot of pressure off everyone.
Ryoma Matsushita, with his cut sleeves and full-screen winning attitude, impressed from sixth place. With “Ryyyyyyy” cheers raining down from his dedicated fans on the court, his two 6-3 wins over Denver’s Daniel Krulig pushed Oregon to 3-1. Matsushita loved his personal surroundings.
“They inspired me so much,” Matsushita said. “They pushed me up and that helped me a lot.”
When Keremedchiev closed his set, Oregon ended the upset, winning gold and ending its brief two-game loss.
In the remaining sets, Denver’s Charlie Miller picked up a point with a win in the No. 5 slot, but it was obliterated by Jesper Klöv-Nilsson’s hard sweep at No. 4, giving the No. 124-ranked player a another quality win and bringing the final score to 5-2.
The 4-2 singles game came on the heels of the doubles matches which saw Oregon win 2-0. A 6-3 win by the Klöv-Nilsson and Luke Vandecasteele duo kicked things off and gave the Ducks the lead in doubles. Moments later, Keremedchiev and Youssef Kadiri earned their own 6-3 victory, giving Oregon another point and cementing the 2-0 doubles sweep.
“We played probably the best doubles we’ve played all year,” Schyllander said. “It cost us last time, but the boys did a great job.”
For the third game in a row, the No. 16 ranked duo of Charlton and Q. Vandecasteele saw their game unfinished. The Ducks were tied at four with Denver’s top pair when the double point was clinched.
“They’re one of the best teams in the country,” Schyllander said. “There is no one who is better than them. There are teams that can beat them but they are as good as anyone.
The win caps a sweep of Denver’s 2022 schedule. The Oregon women’s team beat the Pioneers 4-2 in early February.
Rebuilding momentum was a necessity with Pac-12 play flooding the Ducks’ upcoming schedule.
The next game is the one that has been circled on the schedule for a while.
“It’s the Huskies.” said Schyllander. “They are very good this year. It’s going to be a battle and it should be a lot of fun.
Washington (9-3) arrives in Eugene for a showdown Saturday at 2 p.m. This is where boys become men. This is where the fun begins.