Aztecs drop fifth straight dual match
Photo: Rafael Gonzalez Almazan was a winner at No. 6 singles on Saturday vs. Arizona Courtesy goaztecs.com
March 18, 2017 (San Diego) - San Diego State looked to close out the weekend on a positive note Saturday, but visiting Arizona spoiled those plans with a 4-3 nail-biter over the Aztecs in a non-conference dual match on the final day of the San Diego Spring Break Tournament at Aztec Tennis Center.
Despite claiming the doubles point for the first time in five duals, SDSU (5-10) was unable to avoid its fifth straight defeat as the Wildcats (9-9) rallied for four victories in singles competition to snap a five-match skid of their own.
The Aztecs shuffled their doubles lineup somewhat on Saturday and the results paid off, with junior Santiago Cevallos joining forces with freshman Nicholas Mitchell for the first time this year in a 6-2 conquest of Arizona’s Trent Botha and Oliver Plaskett in the No. 2 position to give the Scarlet and Black a 1-0 lead in the team score. Earlier, the SDSU senior tandem of Marko Goles-Babic and Milen Ianakiev emerged with an identical 6-2 triumph over Will Adkisson and Shoti Meparidze in the No. 1 position. Over on court three, sophomore Sander Gjoels-Andersen and Joel Popov also teamed up for the first time this season, grabbing a 5-3 lead over Alejandro Regurant and Shoki Kashahara before the match was abandoned.
The Aztecs added to their lead at the outset of singles play when freshman Rafael Gonzalez Almazan pinned a 6-0, 6-3 defeat on Plaskett in the sixth slot. Moments later, Arizona finally dented the scoreboard after Botha dispatched Gjoels-Andersen, 6-1, 6-4, in the No. 3 position.
The dual quickly evolved into a grueling fight, with the remaining four encounters extended to three sets. Goles-Babic helped SDSU take a 3-1 lead after hitting the accelerator in the final set of his match with Meparidze in a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 triumph at No. 1.
However, the Aztecs could not prevent a Wildcat comeback as the visitors reeled off three straight wins at this juncture to escape with the team victory. Cevallos fell victim to Kashahara in the fifth spot, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, while Ianakiev experienced a similar fate at No. 2, falling to Will Kneale by a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
With the score knotted at 3-3, all eyes turned to the No. 4 court where Popov found himself in a tight battle with Regurant. The SDSU rookie rebounded from a close 7-5 shave in the first set by winning a tiebreaker in the second stanza 7-6(6); however, his Wildcat adversary turned the tables in the third set, 7-6(5), saddling the Aztecs with a heart-breaking defeat.
San Diego State jumps back into action next weekend when it travels to Utah State for a Mountain West clash in Logan, Utah. Match time is set for 1:30 p.m. MT/12:30 p.m. PT.
Arizona 4, San Diego State 3
March 18, 2017
Aztec Tennis Center
San Diego, Calif.
1. Marko Goles-Babic/Milen Ianakiev (SDSU) def. Will Adkisson/Shoti Meparidze (UA), 6-2
2. Santiago Cevallos/Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU) def. Trent Botha/Oliver Plaskett (UA), 6-2
3. Sander Gjoels-Andersen/Joel Popov (SDSU) vs. Alejandro Regurant/Shoki Kashahara (UA), 5-3, DNF
Order of finish: 1, 2
San Diego State wins doubles point
1. Marko Goles-Babic (SDSU) def. Shoti Meparidze (UA), 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
2. Will Kneale (UA) def. Milen Ianakiev (SDSU), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
3. Trent Botha (UA) def. Sander Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU), 6-1, 6-4
4. Alejandro Regurant (UA) def. Joel Popov (SDSU), 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-6(5)
5. Shoki Kashahara (UA) def. Santiago Cevallos (SDSU), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
6. Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Oliver Plaskett (UA), 6-0, 6-3
Order of finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 2, 4*
* - Match-clinching victory