Sun Devils Back In Action, Open 2021 Against FAU, No. 4 Texas
TEMPE - ASU men's tennis kicks off its 2020-21 season this week with a pair of matches. The Sun Devils open at home Thursday against Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m before heading to Austin, Texas to take on No. 4 Texas on Sunday at 11 a.m. MST. ASU is not allowing public attendance at matches at this time.
Thursday's contest against FAU was originally set for Friday at 2 p.m. but was moved a day earlier due to expected inclement weather.
Thursday vs. FAU
Sunday at No. 4
— Sun Devil M. Tennis (@SunDevilMTennis) January 28, 2021
ASU looks to start the season off strong, led by 14th-ranked doubles partners Tim Reuhl and Andrea Bolla. The duo finished 4-3 last season and helped secure wins over Northern Arizona and Michigan State. In their sophomore seasons (2018-19), the tandem was nearly unbeatable, they finished with a perfect 6-0 record in conference play and 11-2 across all dual matches. The Sun Devils were cut short just before conference play last season, ending with a 4-7 record overall.
The match will be on home soil for senior Scottsdale native Nathan Ponwith who returns with an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA. After transferring from Georgia, Ponwith made history by becoming part of the Sun Devils' highest-ranked doubles pair since 1991 at No. 8 with partner Dominik Kellovsky. The two also defeated No.1 Jimmy Bendeck / Sven Lah of Baylor in a stunning upset before appearing in the first round of the NCAA Doubles National Championship.
Freshman Max McKennon makes his debut in maroon and gold on Friday. Hailing from Newport Beach, California, McKennon was a five-star recruit out of high school and ranked tenth in the nation and first in both California and the Southwest region. He capped off his junior career with a trip to the 2020 French Open Junior Championships.
The 1-1 Owls come to Tempe hot off a win over FGCU, defeating the Eagles 5-2. FAU ended the 2019-20 season 5-11 but defended home court with a 4-1 home record. Most of last season's team returns this year, led by preseason No. 122 Maxime Lapraille and last year's top singles winner Filip Krolo.
On Sunday, the Sun Devils take on a tough opponent in No. 4 Texas. The Longhorns are on a four-game winning streak following the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The 2019 Men's Tennis National Champions finished the shortened 2020 season 13-3 overall with a perfect 9-0 home record.
The Longhorns notched three singles listings in the ITA preseason rankings, including freshman Micah Braswell (78) who was also featured at No. 5 in the top-10 newcomer rankings. Sophomores Siem Woldeab and Eliot Spizzirri round out Texas' singles rankings at No. 57 and No. 120 respectively. Woldeab and senior Payton Holden come in at No. 43 in doubles.