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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Men’s tennis strives for finals at regionals

    In what could be its final tournament of the fall season, the Arizona men’s tennis team needs to make one of the finals at the ITA West Regional, which begins today and runs through Monday, or the Wildcats will sit at home for the rest of the fall season.

    The team will not be present at the National Indoors Championships unless it reaches the final round of either the singles or doubles events. The team had also originally been scheduled to compete in another tournament beforehand, the Florida Collegiate Invitational Oct. 27-29, but UA head coach Tad Berkowitz said it was canceled.

    Juniors Claudio Christen and Bruno Alcala and sophomore Peter Zimmer will lead the Wildcats into Malibu, Calif., the site of the Pepperdine-hosted tournament.

    Alcala, who is going to the event for the third time, said of the tournament: “”Regionals are probably the second most important tournament of the fall, right after the All-Americans, ’cause you play the best players of your region and try to represent your school the best you can.””

    Juniors Jason Labrosse and Francois VanderMerwe will also make the trip to Malibu, along with redshirt freshman Alex Labrosse.

    “”I think it’s important for us to make a little bit of a statement playing against …players from our region,”” Berkowitz said. “”We want to show that we’ve improved on last year.””

    Last year, former Wildcat Roger Matalonga lost in the final round of the event to this season’s No. 1 ranked player, Ben Kohlloeffel of UCLA.

    Since Matalonga’s departure, the team has been searching for someone to fulfill the leadership role that he vacated.

    “”Bruno and me are kind of the oldest ones, so we have to step it up a little bit,”” Christen said. “”I think we have more responsibility.””

    For the doubles events, Alcala and Christen will pair up once again after earning a trip to the quarterfinals last weekend at the Midland Collegiate Championships.

    Alcala said he is happy to be competing with Christen and also hopes to learn more about the event from him.

    “”Claudio tries to guide me and show me the path in doubles,”” he said.

    The team will be playing against many Pacific 10 Conference players, a conference in which the team did not fare well against last year, as it finished with a 3-4 record.

    “”Our region – I think – is probably one of the toughest in the country as far as teams and rankings,”” Berkowitz said. “”So, I think if we can have good success in this region, it’s going to really help us, make us confident.””

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