Chidekh leads pack into multi-match weekend | Men’s Tennis

Clement Chidekh hits a backhand during Washington’s match versus Virginia at the the ITA National Indoor Championships at Nordstrom Tennis Center on Feb. 20. Chidekh has not dropped a match in dual play this season.

With a conference win under its belt over rival Oregon, the Washington men’s tennis team is extending its play on the road this week at the San Diego Shakedown.

The Huskies (10-3, 1-0 Pac-12) clinched their first doubles point in nearly three weeks against the Ducks and are revising and adjusting as their opponents continue to increase the difficulty. The San Diego Shakedown features two top-50 teams in addition to UW. Pennsylvania is currently ranked No. 47 in the team ITA rankings, and 37th-ranked USD.

Head coach Matt Anger has highlighted the importance of dominating play on all courts, especially during the doubles point, and was pleased by his team’s performance against the Ducks.

Washington will need similar performances as it spends the next three weeks on the road.

“Again, being on the road with different conditions to get used to is something we have to focus on,” Anger said. “We arrived on the site, with relatively pleasant conditions to get used to so I think we will adjust fairly well.”

With adjustments to make for upcoming matches, junior Clement Chidekh’s play since the beginning of 2022 has still been nearly flawless.

Chidekh’s impressive play has been reflected throughout the season from being awarded the Pac-12 Player of the Week two weeks in a row to consistently ranking in the top three of the ITA singles polls.

Chidekh and freshman Nedim Suko are UW’s No. 2 doubles pair and have only lost one match since the beginning of the year, against a pair from Georgia that is now ranked No. 27 in the latest ITA polls. Suko and Chidekh have since redeemed themselves and are climbing in the polls, recently earning the No. 34 ranking in the country.

Chidek’s singles matches have had even fewer shortcomings. In Eugene last weekend, Chidekh lost his first singles match since November, but proceeded to take the following two sets to clinch the match.

“Now, anyone that plays will have a tough match, but when you are at the top of the lineup you’re going to have tough matches all year,” Anger said. “It’s not easy playing at the top and winning all of your matches. That is a real sign of someone who is not only good, but very consistent. “

After a 6-4 loss in his first set, Chidekh returned with a 6-4 win in his second. Chidekh ultimately won the final set and clinched the overall match for Washington.

With UW’s desire to maintain its strong play away from home, Chidekh’s dominance will have to be asserted in each match and play a role in leading the team on the road.

Four teams are competing at the event, with Washington paired against Pennsylvania for its first match and either New Mexico or San Diego for its second. Depending on the results of the matches played Thursday, the winners of each match and the losers of each will play Friday.

The last time UW was paired against Penn was 2016 when the Huskies won 7-0. Going all the way back to 2004, Washington was up against New Mexico in the opening round of the NCAA tournament where it won 4-0. Washington took on San Diego in 2020 and lost 3-4.

Washington’s first match of the San Diego Shakedown will take place Thursday, March 10 against Penn at 2 pm

Reach reporter Tess Kadian at Twitter: @ tkadian21

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