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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Emotion carries tennis through weekend

Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dave Sanderson and his dog Buzz came out to support the Valentines Day Love Your Dog Social in Geronimo Plaza. The event, which helped raise money for Gabriels Angels, featured activities including dog massages and Valentine photos.
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Dave Sanderson and his dog Buzz came out to support the Valentine’s Day Love Your Dog Social in Geronimo Plaza. The event, which helped raise money for Gabriel’s Angels, featured activities including dog massages and Valentine photos.

The display of emotion from Arizona men’s tennis player Andres Carrasco was as if he had just won a major tournament, maybe even a tightly contested match against a top-ranked Pacific 10 Conference team.

Neither was the case on Friday, as the junior was merely celebrating a 9-7 doubles victory against New Mexico State with his partner, senior Andres Arango. As they finished their last point to take the second doubles court, Carrasco let loose a yell toward the sky.

That emotion was the x-factor this weekend.

“”I never doubt their heart and emotion,”” said head coach Tad Berkowitz. “”That’s what got us through these: Heart and effort.””

Especially against a feisty No. 73 New Mexico State team, which gave the ITA’s No. 23-ranked Arizona (4-1) Wildcats their closest win of the season, 4-3.

On Friday, after winning two of the three doubles matches, the Wildcats inserted some drama in the day by not clinching the match until a win in the second-to-last singles match. In a match that could have gone either way, UA earned wins in the first three singles courts.

Arango upset ITA’s No. 56-ranked singles player Jim Brouleau 6-4, 6-4 on the first court. Rarely was there a point in which Arango looked like he was in trouble.

Sophomore Jason Zafiros, who is the ITA’s No. 113 ranked player in singles, moved down to the No. 2 singles position for the team. There, he defeated Gustave Diep 6-4, 6-2. Carrasco also won on the third singles court over Matej Stakne, 6-4, 6-4.

On Sunday, UA showed those same qualities against a Cal Poly team that wouldn’t go down without a fight. UA again came out with the 4-3 victory.

The Wildcats started in a difficult hole against Cal Poly after losing the doubles point. The first court of senior Pat Metham and junior Borja Malo was the only court to earn a victory, 8-5.

“”The main thing is that doubles and singles are two separate things,”” Berkowitz said. “”We just had to calm down, get our bearings and focus.””

And they need all of their focus, heart and effort. The only place where the majority of things seemed to go in Arizona’s favor was on court two, with Zafiros winning 6-4, 6-4.

In the end, though, Arango won 6-4, 7-5 on court one, Carrasco won on court three 6-4, 6-2 and junior Geoff Embry pulled out a close first set to win his match on court five, 7-6, 6-1.

With the numerous points, arguable calls and tough games that the men had to deal with on Sunday, they still showed why they’re a ranked team. Still, it wasn’t the easiest two wins the team has had.

“”We didn’t dodge one, but two bullets this weekend,”” Berkowitz said.

 

 

Women split first road trip

The ITA’s newly-ranked No. 56 women’s tennis team quickly found that momentum can only go so far. But soon thereafter, they discovered the ability to forget is equally as important.

The Wildcats (6-1) began the weekend on Friday against Rice University with a 5-2 loss, giving the women their first loss of the season.

“”They just played a better match,”” said head coach Vicky Maes. “”We fought hard, but they dominated in the doubles and relied on their consistency in the singles. I feel we could have played a little better, but playing indoors added an extra challenge that might have worked against us a little this time.””

Against Rice, UA lost four of the six singles matches with the only wins coming from freshman Alexandrina Naydenova over Ana Guzman 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 and sophomore Sarah Landsman coming from behind to defeat Julie Chao 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

After the overall performance though, the team was determined to go out and get the win against Texas Tech on Saturday.

With the doubles point going to Arizona, the Wildcats proceeded to start singles somewhat slowly.

“”Initially, almost everyone was 3-0 or 4-1 down in the first set of the singles,”” Maes said.

At that point, things didn’t look good. But the women slowly battled back and ended up only dropping two of the singles matches.

UA sophomore Natasha Marks, ITA’s No. 46-ranked singles player, came back from dropping her first set to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. On court two, Landsman also posted a win with scores of 6-4, 6-2 and Naydenova earned her second win of the weekend on court three with set scores of 1-6, 6-4, 7-6.

Senior Claire Rietsch, in the fifth spot, also contributed to the five points for the Wildcats with a close 7-5, 7-6 victory.

“”As a team, this was by far the closest battle we’ve had this year,”” Maes said. “”It turned out to be a great showing both mentally and physically for us and it proved that we can be resilient in tough situations.””

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