Victor Castro, Judson Blair victorious for Aztecs in singles
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
March 30, 2021 (Salt Lake City) - The San Diego State men’s tennis team opened its lengthy road swing on a sour note Tuesday, falling to Utah by a 5-2 count in a non-conference dual match at George S. Eccles Tennis Center.
The Aztecs were edged in a closely contested doubles round but could not regroup in singles play, posting just two victories to drop to 3-8 on the season. Meanwhile, the Utes snapped a six-match losing skid to SDSU dating back to 2008, raising their record to 12-8 overall.
The tandem of Johannes Seeman and Victor Castro got things rolling for the Scarlet and Black by winning their third straight encounter with a 6-4 triumph over Francisco Bastias and Slava Shainyan in the No. 1 position. However, Utah responded with the same 6-4 tally from Franco Capalbo and Luis Flores, who dispatched the Aztec duo of Ignacio Martinez and Judson Blair in the second spot.
That set the stage for the deciding match on court No. 3 where Aaro Pollanen and Rafael Gonzalez Almazan were engaged in a tight battle with Geronimo Busleiman and Chris Heck. The SDSU tandem forged a slim 5-4 lead, but their Ute adversaries forced a tiebreaker and ultimately prevailed 7-6(3).
Trailing 1-0 on the team scoreboard, the Aztecs were unable to gain traction in singles, as Utah claimed the first four decisions. First off the court was Pollanen, who was upended by Bastias in the No. 4 position 6-2, 6-2, while Gonzalez Almazan soon followed after falling to Busleiman by an identical score in the third spot.
Shortly thereafter, the Utes secured the necessary fourth team point when Capalbo defeated Seeman at the top of the ladder, 6-4, 6-1, spoiling the singles ranking debut for the Aztec sophomore, who was listed at No. 123 in the latest ITA ratings released earlier in the day.
With the outcome of the match no longer in doubt, the remaining three encounters continued until completion.
At No. 5, Roni Rikkonen was dealt a 6-4, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Mathias Gavelin, while Castro broke the SDSU drought after pulling away for a straight-set victory over Shainyan in the second position 7-6(3), 6-2. Shortly thereafter, Blair accounted for the final outcome by outlasting Rian Ta at No. 6 6-4, 7-6(4), snapping a personal five-match losing skid in the process.
San Diego State jumps back into conference play on Thursday, April 1, when it travels up the road to face Utah State in another matinee, starting at 11 a.m. MT/10 a.m. PT.