HOUSTON - BYU men’s tennis strung together 15 wins across three days at this week’s Rice Fall Challenge, resulting in the team’s best performance thus far this season. An undefeated doubles session on day one was just the beginning, with the Cougars finding doubles and singles wins against a variety of opponents as the competition progressed.
"The Rice Fall Challenge was good preparation for our upcoming season. Mateo Vereau had a great week playing before extended family members from Peru. He not only won all his matches, but he also played at a level that will help us greatly throughout the season," said head coach Dave Porter. "Wally Thayne, Zach Fuchs and Dominik Jakovljevic also had excellent performances this week. We are looking forward to the upcoming season. Go Cougs."
Vereau's undefeated run included five wins (three singles, two doubles) the most on the team. His two doubles wins came with two different partners, the first of which marked Brigham Andrus’s official return from injury and first appearance this season.
Vereau’s second partner, Jakovljevic, had a successful weekend of his own, going 4-2 with a 2-1 record in both singles and doubles. After dropping his first singles match on Thursday, Jakovljevic rebounded with two-straight singles victories to carry a winning streak into the dual match portion of the season.
- Vereau/Jakovljevic def. Alonso/Muminovic (UTSA) 8-7
- Quesada Perez/Zavala (TAMUCC) def. Owen/Chen 8-5
- Pinho/Skelly (UTSA) def. Thayne/Fuchs 8-5
- Mateo Vereau def. Alex Stafford (SMU) 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-0
- Dominik Jakovljevic def. Blaine Hovenier (SMU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
- Zach Fuchs def. Avery Zavala (TAMUCC) 6-3, 6-1
- Alex Lin def. Nathan Schwartz (TAMUCC) 6-4, 6-4
- Liam Krall (SMU) def. Wally Thayne 6-7 (6), 4-6
- Tomas Quesada Perez (TAMUCC) def. Redd Owen 6-4, 6-3
- Ulysse Bertrand (TAMUCC) def. Brian Chen 6-0, 6-0
SMU’s Stafford was the only player to push Vereau to a third set in Houston, with Vereau just narrowly losing his streak after falling short in the set two tiebreaker. He responded by sweeping the third set, delivering an all-around perfect weekend for the fifth-year senior.
Jakovljevic also took over his match in the third set, going 6-0 as well to lock up his victory. The result also meant he helped the team improve to 4-1 against SMU, which finished last season ranked No. 22 nationally.
Zach Fuchs’s win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s Zavala put him at 2-1 in singles, the third Cougar to leave Rice with a winning singles record. While Redd Owen and Brian Chen lost their Saturday doubles match, the duo took home a 2-1 record together and improved to 4-3 in their freshmen seasons.
BYU has now concluded the fall invitational portion of the team’s schedule, with spring dual matches, including WCC play, to come in 2023. The schedule runs from January through April, with the full slate of matches to be announced in the coming months.