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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    2nd Pac-10 award for senior

    Taylor House / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Mens tennis
    Taylor House / Arizona Daily Wildcat Mens’ tennis

    Senior Roger Matalonga put in another productive weekend, and his hard work was rewarded yesterday when he was named the Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Week for the second time this year.

    No. 58 Matalonga fought hard in three sets to defeat ASU junior Jonathan Kinsella, ranked No. 85, in the No. 1 singles spot over the weekend. This came after winning his doubles match with teammate Francois VanderMerwe, an 8-4 decision over junior Nick Hegarty and senior Ryan McBride.

    Matalonga’s play helped No. 62 Arizona beat No. 54 ASU, 6-1 Saturday at the Robson Tennis Center.

    “”It means more now,”” Matalonga said. “”Earlier in the season I was playing easier matches, but now I’m playing better.””

    Matalonga entered the match after a week off from competition. He sat out last week due to the NCAA rule that states a player can only compete in 25 events in the fall and spring combined. The team has a total of 22 matches in the spring and Matalonga had competed in four in the fall, so he sat out last weekend in order to play the rest of the matches, Arizona assistant coach Cory Hubbard said.

    “”It gave me good rest, (which) I needed a little bit because I’ve been playing a lot of three-set matches,”” Matalonga said.

    The other time he was named Pac-10 Player of the Week was for the week of Jan. 30-Feb. 5.

    So far this season Matalonga is 8-4 in singles matches and 8-5 in doubles.

    Even though he was winning, Matalonga said he wasn’t feeling as comfortable on the court earlier in the season as he is now. As the year goes on he said he is feeling more relaxed, which is helping his confidence and his game.

    The award should increase his confidence when he and his teammates host fellow Pac-10 schools this weekend in No. 53 Southern California and the defending national champions, No. 9 UCLA.

    “”It will help a lot because I have two very tough matches this weekend,”” Matalonga said. “”USC will have their No. 1 guy back and UCLA has the best player in the nation.””

    Yet he doesn’t want to take all of the credit. Matalonga said feels that each player should be a player of the week after the team’s hard fought effort against ASU.

    “”We played well, and they deserve it as much as I do,”” Matalonga said.

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