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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Tennis aces home opener

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The Arizona men’s tennis team opened its season in impressive fashion on Saturday, defeating University of California, Riverside 7-0 and sweeping in all six singles matches at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. In doubles, the Highlanders kept it close, splitting the first two matches before the Wildcats won the tiebreaker with the duo of senior Andres Carrasco and freshman Kieren Thompson.

“”I thought the guys did really well, there were some nerves early on in doubles, but once we got through them and got the kinks out we rolled through convincingly,”” said UA head coach Tad Berkowitz.

The Wildcats (1-0) paired junior Jason Zafiros with freshman Andre Vidaller for the first time on court one. Playing in the number one spot, the duo proved victorious in a hard-fought 9-7 victory over UCR’s (0-4) Michael Conroy and Quoc Doan.

Sophomore Frank Chen made his doubles debut with senior Borja Malo. The Wildcat duo fought hard against UCR’s Austin Andres and Raineir Matias, but lost 8-5.

On court two, Thompson and Carrasco propelled the Wildcats to clinch the doubles point. It took a tiebreaker to win the match against the Highlanders’ Kevin Griffin and Felix Macherez. The Wildcats fought back after trailing 4-1 to start the match. In the tiebreaker, the Wildcat duo fell behind 4-0 before coming back with 7 straight points to win the tiebreaker 7-4.

“”For doubles, we need to work on closing and being more aggressive,”” said Carrasco.

In the singles portion of the afternoon, the Wildcats went full speed ahead and dominated the Highlanders after struggling through the doubles portion of the match. Borja Malo opened the competition with a 6-1, 6-0 victory on court five over Matias.

Zafiros, easily the loudest and most enthusiastic player on the Arizona team throughout the doubles competition, continued to show fire and extended the Wildcat run with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Andres on court three.

Senior Jay Goldman clinched the match for the Wildcats on court two, winning 6-1, 6-0 over Doan.

Carrasco, playing in the number-one spot for the first time, easily defeated Macherez 6-2, 6-0 on court one. Carrasco, one of only 10 Wildcats to earn more than 50 singles wins since 1988, was really impressed by the team’s season-opening victory.

“”I like the fire we showed. We have a really competitive team, we should have the best season of all-time for the men’s tennis program,”” Carrasco said.

Vidaller won his fourth singles match as a Wildcat on court four, defeating UCR’s Ryan Stanbury 6-2, 6-2, clinching the seventh point for UA. Berkowitz said he was happy with the team’s season-opening victory and, after being eliminated from the NCAA tournament in the first round last season, has high expectations for the Wildcats this season.

“”Our ultimate goal is to make the Sweet 16 (in the NCAA tournament),”” said Berkowitz. “”Not only do we want to make the tournament, but we want to advance.””

The Wildcats will travel to College Station, Texas,  to face off against No. 44 University of Miami Hurricanes on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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