Men's Tennis Opens Pac-12 At No. 18 UCLA, No. 10 USC
Utah men's tennis is set to open its 2021 Pac-12 slate this weekend, taking on the pair of Los Angeles schools to get conference action underway. Utah (10-4) will begin the weekend against No. 18 UCLA (4-2) on Friday, March 12 at 3 p.m. MT at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Live stats and a stream will be available here.
Utah will then take on No. 10 USC (10-8) on Saturday, March 13 at 4 p.m. MT. The match between the Utes and Trojans at David X. Marks Stadium will have live stats and a stream available here.
SLAVA SERVIN' IT UP
Senior Slava Shainyan is coming off a team-best 13-2 singles record last year and has carried the momentum over to his super senior year in 2021. Shainyan has an 9-3 record to this point, which includes a 7-1 record on court one. The Moscow, Russia native has claimed notable wins over top singles players from Denver, SMU and Drake to lead the Utes. Shainyan rode a six-match winning streak and did not lose a singles match for nearly a month.
LEADING THE LINEUP
Along with Shainyan's success on the top court, Utah has seen a team-high 10 dual wins from Geronimo Busleiman and Francisco Bastias, who are both new to the program this season. Busleiman has played primarily on court three, while Bastias has spent most of his time this season on court four. Both Utes hold a 10-4 record in spring play. Meanwhile, Franco Capalbo has held down time in the second spot, as well as a few matches on court one, and has posted seven dual wins after playing in fewer matches due to injury.
Utah's top doubles team of Franco Capalbo and Geronimo Busleiman have posted an 8-2 record so far this season in doubles action on court one. The winners of five straight, the Ute posted a win over the nation's No. 42-ranked duo from Denver a few weeks ago. Capalbo and Busleiman have won seven of their last eight matches. Coming to Salt Lake City with court experience together, Capalbo and Busleiman were doubles teammates during their junior careers and excelled as partners. The duo reached the semifinals of the Junior French Open and won the Grade 1 ITS in Canada leading up to the U.S. Open.
The Bruins come in to the match with a 4-2 record in the spring with the pair of losses coming from crosstown rival USC. UCLA has topped California, Loyola Marymount, UC Santa Barbara and UNLV to get the season started. The Bruins are led by No. 10-ranked Keegan Smith, who plays in the top singles spot and holds a 5-1 record this season. Smith has also played in the top doubles position all season and has been paired with three different partners.
The Trojans are 10-4 this season after dropping three-straight matches at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, two of which were 4-3 losses to No. 5 Texas and No. 3 TCU. USC currently has its top two singles players Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith ranked No. 1 and No. 19 in the nation, respectively. Mor Bulis is ranked No. 26 in the third position, while Stefan Dostanic is ranked No. 104. Smith and Cukierman sit as the No. 1 doubles team in the nation and are 9-1 this season.
LAST TIME OUT
Utah returned home and picked up wins over Utah State and Montana to continue non-conference action. Against Utah State, the Utes picked up the 4-0 to get the day started. Franco Capalbo/Geronimo Busleiman picked up a doubles win, while it was Luis Flores/Bruno Krenn that secured the point with a win of their own on court three. In singles play, Utah took wins from Busleiman, Francisco Bastias and Krenn to close out the match.
Against Montana, Utah shuffled the lineup and still produced a 5-0 win. Bastias and Slava Shainyan paired up for a doubles win, while it was Busleiman and Chris Heck earning the doubles point for Utah in their first doubles match together. Utah then earned singles wins in straight sets from the top four courts to clinch the second win of the day.
ROAD TO 100
Three-time ITA Mountain Region Coach of the Year Roeland Brateanu is in his seventh season as the head coach of Utah. After sweeping Boise State earlier this season, Brateanu reached 100 career wins at the helm of the program. Brateanu led the Utes to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2018 and 2019, No. 1 overall Mountain Region rankings, along with earning a spot in the final ITA/Oracle rankings in three of the last four seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 campaign). In his six seasons at the helm, he has seen the Utes collect 10 Pac-12 All-Conference selections and seven ITA Mountain Region end of year awards.
Utah will stay on the road to continue Pac-12 play, first matching up against Washington on Friday, March 19 in Seattle, Wash. Before beginning a six-match homestand, the Utes will head to Eugene, Ore., to play Oregon on Sunday, March 21.