SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The rackets of the UC San Diego men's tennis team were in full swing on Friday during the first day of the UCSB Classic, where several Tritons forced their early-afternoon matches against Division-I opponents to three sets while contending with the wind.
"It was a tough day for the Tritons," said head coach Timmer Willing. "We lost a couple three-setters, one against UC Davis and one against UC Santa Barbara. Ultimately, it shows where we are when it comes to closing out matches. We need to get better in that area. We'll get some leads and not be able to close out, or we come back and get a chance to take the lead and we press a little bit."Ganesh Alagappan earned the Tritons' lone victory on Friday in the Flight "C" Round of 16, defeating Philip Hinojosa of Nevada in thrilling fashion. Alagappan lost the first set, 7-5, but rebounded with back-to-back, 6-2 wins in the second and third set to oust Hinojosa.
In the 16-slot opening round of the Flight "A" bracket, Camill Salomon lost to Gregory Bayane of Cal by a narrow score of 7-5 in the first set. However, Bayane won the match with a 6-0, second-set shutout.
Both Max Jiganti and Kona Luu had similar matches in the Flight "B" Round of 16, winning the first set of their respective duels before dropping the second and third. Jiganti lost to Miles Seemann of UC Santa Barbara, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, while Luu suffered a loss to Hugo Fortin of UC Davis, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Justin Anderson played UCSD's other Flight "C" match in which he was outscored by Cal Poly's Gannon Daynes, 6-4, 6-1.
In Flight "A" doubles, the Gaucho grouping of Ziad Sultan and Mbonisi Ndimande beat the Triton twosome of Salomon and Jiganti, 8-5.
Luu and Alagappan represented UCSD in Flight "B" doubles but endured a slim 8-6 loss to Nevada's Victor Ouvrard and Fernando Sunago.
Salomon and Jiganti will play Jurgen De Jager and Daynes of Cal Poly in the Flight "A" Consolation Round of 4 on Saturday at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, Luu and Alagappan will compete at that time against Toki Sherbakov and Adam Luba of UCD in the Flight "B" Consolation Round of 4.
The single round of doubles play on Saturday will precede two rounds of singles play. Alagappan's next opponent in the Flight "C" Singles Round of 8 on Saturday is Nicholas Szyndlar of Westmont. Szyndlar defeated Trevor Unger of Northern Arizona, 6-4, 6-1, in the Round of 16.
Salomon will take on Moez Echargui of the Wolfpack in the Flight "A" Consolation Round of 4 on Saturday.
In the Flight "B" Consolation Round of 8 bracket, Jiganti will oppose Luba, and Luu will compete against Jordan Smith of Cal. Either Jiganti or Luu can still place as high as ninth in the bracket.
Anderson has a bye in the first round of Flight "C" Consolation and will play the winner of the Consolation Round match between Unger and Hinojosa.
In spite of the outcomes of the Tritons' matches, Willing believes that his team will begin to reap the benefits of playing Division-I competition in the not-too-distant future.
"It's a learning experience," Willing said. "But we've got to keep working on it and eventually those things will start turning in our favor the more we're involved in that situation and things will get better. We've just got to keep pushing, keep pushing and we'll get there."
2012 UCSB Classic
Oct. 12, 2012
Rec Center Courts (Flight "A"), Rob Gym Courts (Flight "B") and Stadium Courts (Flight "C")
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Flight "A" Singles - Round of 16
Gregory Bayane (Cal) def. Camill Salomon (UCSD) 7-5, 6-0