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Aztecs Rafael Gonzalez Almazan and Daniel de la Torre post three victories each


Photo:  Rafael Gonzalez Almazan was a three-time winner on Friday at the Aztec Fall Invitational.  Courtesy

October 6, 2017 (San Diego) - The San Diego State men’s tennis team made its home debut Friday at the 2017 Aztec Fall Invitational Friday, with 10 of the squad’s 11 players seeing action at Aztec Tennis Center.

Sophomore Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (Madrid, Spain) and redshirt freshman Daniel de la Torre (Calexico, Calif.) were the big winners on opening day of SDSU’s annual tournament, posting two victories apiece in singles competition, while each emerged triumphant in doubles.

In the Flight 2 singles draw, Gonzalez Almazan opened with a 6-3, 6-3 decision over UC San Diego’s Sreeganesh Manoharan in the round of 16, followed by a 6-1, 6-3 conquest of Neil Tenbumroong, another Triton adversary,   in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, de la Torre pinned a 6-3, 6-2 defeat on Liberty’s Max Borcuti in his first match, before storming back to take down Grand Canyon’s Freddie Grant in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Rounding out the bracket was sophomore Nicholas Mitchell (Ojai, Calif.), who fell victim to Liberty’s Eddie Gutierrez, 6-3, 6-0, in the round of 16, before falling in a hard-fought super-tiebreaker to Bruce Man-Son-Hing of UC Irvine in the consolation draw, 6-7(-3), 7-5, 10-6.

Earlier in Flight 2 doubles play, Gonzalez Almazan combined with junior Raul de la Torre (Calexico, Calif.), posting a 7-6(3) decision over UC Irvine’s Mason Hansen and Sasha Krasnov, while brother Daniel joined forces with Liberty’s Borcuti in a cross-school tandem, knocking off the USD pairing of Pratt Keerasuntonpong and Garret Kurtz by an identical 7-6(3) count.

However, the Aztecs experienced mixed results in Flight 1 singles, logging four victories in the round of 32, but dropped three of four encounters in the ensuing bracket.

In his first singles action of the season, Raul de la Torre prevailed in three sets over Mathieu Rajaonah of Grand Canyon in his opening-round match, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, while fellow classmate Sander Gjoels-Andersen (Klampenborg, Denmark) endured a tight opening set against UC Irvine’s Mason Hansen before finishing strong in a 7-5, 6-2 victory. Sophomore Joel Popov (Tampere, Finland) was also a straight-set winner over USD’s Pratt Keerasuntonpong, 6-3, 7-6(3), in his round of 32 encounter, while freshman Ignacio Martinez (Weston, Fla.) rallied for a three-set triumph over UCSD’s Marc Isaia, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

However, the aforementioned quartet could not duplicate their success in the round of 16, including Gjoels-Andersen and de la Torre, who fought valiantly in their respective encounters before falling in three sets. Gjoels-Andersen suffered a tough setback to Valentin Lang of Grand Canyon, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(2), while de la Torre came up short to Liberty’s Chase Burton by a count of 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Elsewhere, Popov had his advance thwarted by GCU’s Lorenzo Fucile in a nail-biter, 7-5, 7-6(3), while Martinez was dismissed by USD’s August Holmgren by a 7-5, 6-3 tally.

Earlier in the round of 32, Fucile was victorious over Aztec sophomore David Hough (Traralgon, Australia), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, while freshman Jan Kirchhoff (Germany) experienced a tough 7-5, 7-5 setback to another Antelope adversary in Justin Cvitanovic.

In Flight 1 doubles competition, Hough and Kirchhoff joined forces to dispatch the UCSD tandem of Eric Tseng and Justin Zhang, 6-4, while Gjoels-Andersen and Mitchell prevailed over another Triton pairing of Isaia and Manoharan, 7-6(4). The SDSU duo of Martinez and Popov were not as fortunate in their tight battle with Liberty’s Gutierrez and Vince Salas, however, ultimately dropping a 7-6(6) decision.

The Aztec Fall Invitational continues on Saturday with a round of doubles play at 9 a.m. PT, followed by two rounds of singles competition. Admission is free to the public.

Aztec Fall Invitational

Day One

Aztec Tennis Center

San Diego, Calif.

SDSU Results Only

Doubles Flight 1

Round of 16

David Hough/Jan Kirchholff (SDSU) def. Eric Tseng /Justin Zhang (UCSD), 6-4

Sander Gjoels-Andersen/Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU) def. Marc Isaia/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD), 7-6(4)

Vince Salas/Eddie Gutierrez (Liberty) def. Joel Popov/Ignacio Martinez (SDSU), 7-6(6)

Doubles Flight 2

Quarterfinal Round

Raul de la Torre/Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Mason Hansen/Sasha Krasnov (UCI), 7-6(3)

Daniel de la Torre (SDSU)/Max Borcuti (Liberty) def. Pratt Keerasuntonpong/Garrett Kurtz (USD), 7-6(3)

Singles Flight 1

Round of 32

Raul de la Torre (SDSU) def. Mathieu Rajaonah (GCU), 6-4, 2-6, 6-2

Sander Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU) def. Mason Hansen (UCI), 7-5, 6-2

Ignacio Martinez (SDSU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3

Joel Popov (SDSU) def. Pratt Keerasuntonpong (USD), 6-3, 7-6(3)

Justin Cvitanovic (GCU) def. David Hough (SDSU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1

Lorenzo Fucile (GCU) def. Jan Kirchhoff (SDSU), 7-5, 7-5

Round of 16

Arnaud Restifo (SDSU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD), 6-2, 6-3

Valentin Lang (GCU) def. Sander Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU), 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(2)

Chase Burton (Liberty) def. Raul de la Torre (SDSU), 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

Lorenzo Fucile (GCU) def. Joel Popov (SDSU), 7-5, 7-6(6)

August Holmgren (USD) def. Ignacio Martinez (SDSU), 7-5, 6-3

Singles Flight 2

Round of 16

Daniel de la Torre (SDSU) def. Max Borcuti (Liberty), 6-3, 6-2

Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD), 6-3, 6-3

Eddie Gutierrez (Liberty) def. Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU), 6-3, 6-0


Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Neil Tenbumroong (UCSD), 6-1, 6-3

Daniel de la Torre (SDSU) def. Freddie Grant (GCU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-1

Consolation Quarterfinals

Bruce Man-Son-Hing (UCI) def. Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU), 6-7(3), 7-5, 10-6


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