Each year, for the past 8 years, Boise State Men’s Tennis Head Coach Greg Patton has taken a team of top-ranked college men and women to France to compete in the BNP Paribas Master’U. In those 8 years, Patton has coached the US team to 7 victories. Patton and his co-coach, Melissa Schaub of Ohio State, are hoping to bring home the Big Trophy again in 2017. Click here to follow livescoring. Read below for Patton’s account of Day 4!
Whew! We got through our first match of the Master’s U, and believe me it was by far the toughest first round match that Team USA has ever experienced in my 9 years of coaching the USA team. It is like being invited to a party and the bouncer is one Big Burly and Dangerous Frenchman. Usually the American Team cruises through our first round match, which prepares us for the rigors of the Semis and Finals. Basically in those rounds we play the “better” teams from Great Britain, Russia, Germany or France. As a matter of fact, we usually play France every year (half the time in the semis and the other half in the Championships). Lo and behold, we drew France in the first round, and to be honest, that is a scary first date.
I have good news for you though! Our three men and three women of Team USA survived our encounter with the French with a robust 5-2 win. Not to say that this was easy. France took a 2-1 lead and only needed to take two of the next five matches to secure a victory over us. But our Men and Women of Steel, held off the onslaught of incredible play from the French to sweep the remaining five matches to earn a berth in the Semifinals on Saturday.
A little synopsis of the match. Alle Sanford (freshman from University of North Carolina) received a baptism to the nerves of team play for the first time in her life. She was a little slow getting out of the starting blocks in the first match of the day (which was the #2 women’s singles spot). She fell 6-2 in the first set, but then became a woman possessed when she ran through her opponent 6-0 in the second set. Unfortunately, the French player jumped out to a quick lead in the 3rd set and held off Alli for the 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 win.
France jumps out to a quick 1-0 lead
#2 men’s spot for singles, Martin Redlicki played a serve and volleying French Demon. Martin didn’t lose serve the entire match but was pushed to three sets with a 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 win.
USA ties up France 1-1
Next up is Ashley Lahey from Pepperdine who ran into a French lawn mower and fell 6-0, 6-1
USA 1 France 2
To be honest, this 2-1 lead by the French is starting to feel a little queasy with the nerves now creeping into a stomach ache.
Brandon Holt put on a “tennis Clinic” as he defeated the French #1 player by a 6-2, 6-4 score.
Team score USA 2 France 2
In the past, our doubles teams have always served as our saviors. Well, today was no exception.
The thriller of the day, was a magnificent come back victory from the women’s doubles team of Ashley Lahey and Ena Shibahara. They fought off a talented French team 4-6, 6-2 10-8.
* All we need is a victory from our men’s doubles team or our Mixed Doubles team.
Our Men’s doubles team of Brandon Holt (USC) and Martin Redlicki (UCLA) quickly dispatched the French by a 6-3, 6-3 score to clinch the team match.
The mixed doubles match was shortened to a pro set which Alfredo Perez and Ena Shibahara cruised to 8-0 win.
Now is the time for me to say goodnight here in France, to get ready for our semifinals match with Germany in only 7 hours.