Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
April 9, 2021 (Colorado Springs) - Despite winning another doubles point, the San Diego State men’s tennis team was unable carry that success into singles play on Friday, dropping a 4-1 decision to Air Force in a Mountain West match on the USAFA Indoor Courts.
With the loss, the Aztecs were dealt their fourth straight defeat, falling to 3-10 on the season and 0-3 in conference play, while the Falcons even their record at 8-8 overall and move to 1-2 in the MW.
For the second straight match and third time in its last four outings, SDSU fell short in singles after capturing the doubles round.
The duo of Johannes Seeman and Victor Castro got the proverbial ball rolling for the Aztecs by recording their fifth straight victory with a 6-3 triumph over Paul Hendrix and Jamie Bautista, improving to 6-1 overall at the top of the rotation.
Just moments earlier, the tandem of Ignacio Martinez and Judson Blair experienced the opposite fate, falling to the pairing of Robert Baylon and Jordan Azuma by an identical 6-3 tally in the second position.
All eyes quickly turned to the No. 3 court, where the combo of Rafael Gonzalez Almazan and Roni Rikkonen found themselves in a tight battle with Sean McKendree and Justin Waldman, where they forged leads of 4-2 and 6-5. The Air Force teammates forced a tiebreaker, but the Aztec duo flashed their resiliency, ultimately prevailing by a 7-6(6) score.
With a 1-0 lead on the team scoreboard, San Diego State could not add to its advantage in singles, dropping the first set in all four completed matches, while three of those encounters featured second-set tiebreakers.
After Rikkonen was upended by Jonathan Mascagni 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 4 position, Seeman fell victim to Hendrix at the top of the ladder 6-3, 7-6(7).
Over on the second court, Castro suffered a similar misfortune to Baylon, who outlasted his Aztec adversary 6-4, 7-6(3).
Suddenly trailing 3-1, SDSU needed a victory at No. 3 to stay alive; however, Martinez was unable to extend his match to a third set against Waldman after nursing a 5-4 lead in the second. The Aztec senior lost the opener 6-4, but could not get the equalizer and eventually dropped the second-set tiebreaker 7-6(2).
With the outcome of the match no longer in question, the remaining two singles matches were suspended in the first set. Gonzalez Almazan found himself trailing McKendree 4-2 in the fifth position, while Blair faced a 3-1 deficit at No. 6.
San Diego State will look to regroup on Sunday, April 11 when it wraps up its road swing at New Mexico starting at 1 p.m. MT/noon PT.