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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Christen gets to quarters

    Members of the Arizona men’s tennis team once again competed against some of the nation’s top players this weekend, this time at the Midland Collegiate Championships held at the Racquet Club in Midland, Texas, said UA head coach Tad Berkowitz.

    Juniors Claudio Christen and Bruno Alcala traveled to the tournament to represent the Wildcats.

    “”(They played) a lot of the top players from different schools, a lot of the top programs,”” Berkowitz said.

    Christen saw the most success in the singles event, where he advanced to the quarterfinals on Saturday before losing to Arkansas’s No. 96-ranked sophomore Blake Strode, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1.

    Berkowitz, pleased with Christen’s performance, said he is looking for his players to “”step up”” to the challenges the fall season brings.

    “”I’m really excited with Claudio’s effort. He did a great job,”” Berkowitz said. “”I know that he can compete and battle hard against these top guys.

    “”It’s just now at the point where he’s starting to be able to just beat them, and for him to do that shows a lot of improvement.”” against freshman Gonzalo Bienzobas of Texas-Arlington, defeating him in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. With yet another straight-set victory in the third round on Friday, Christen beat Baylor senior Michal Kokta, who held the No. 1 seed in the event and ranks No. 23 in the nation, 7-5, 6-3 to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.

    Alcala did not fare as well in the singles draw, as he lost in the second round on Friday to Illinois sophomore Marc Spicijaric, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.

    Berkowitz said that in order for Alcala to succeed in these events he must remain confident in his abilities.

    “”Bruno’s working hard…he’ll come around,”” he said. “”He’s struggling a little bit with a few things, but he’s a player that once he gets rolling, he’s tough to beat.””

    He began well on Friday in the first round by earning a win against sophomore David Galic of Baylor, 6-1, 6-3.

    The two also competed in the doubles event of the tournament, working to defend the title their ex-teammates, Roger Matalonga and Daniel Andrus, won last year at the same event.

    Alcala and Christen made it to the quarterfinals of the draw, losing to the Arkansas duo of Strode and junior Colin Mascall 8-5 on Saturday.

    Earlier in the day, they earned a win against sophomores Peter Aarts and Scott Bruckmann of Michigan by a score of 8-4. According to Berkowitz, Michigan has a program that is much like Arizona’s team, and it was important to him that they were able to beat squad like that.

    As far as practice for this week, he said that they are going to do all they can in the short time they have before the team leaves for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association West Regional in Malibu, Calif., on Wednesday.

    “”We’re just going to fine tune everything,”” he said, “”just get them clicking on all cylinders.””

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