Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Triton sophomore Neil Tengbumroong won his opening-round singles match Friday at the Aztec Fall Invitational.

Men's Tennis Continues Fall Slate at Aztec Fall Invitational


SAN DIEGO - Nine of the 11 members of the University of California San Diego men's tennis team competed during the Aztec Fall Invitational this past Friday through Sunday, at the Aztec Tennis Center on the campus of host San Diego State University.

UC San Diego was joined for the annual three-day tournament by student-athletes from San Diego State, the University of San Diego, UC Irvine, Grand Canyon, Pacific and Southern Utah, all Division I programs. It featured two flights in both singles (Warrior/Aztec) and doubles (Black/Red).

In Warrior Flight Round of 32 action Friday, junior Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) knocked off UC Irvine junior Bruce Man-Son-Hing, 6-4, 6-4. Sophomore Neil Tengbumroong swept aside Grand Canyon senior Justin Cvitanovic, 6-4, 6-4. Seniors Richard Han and Riku Hashiyada fell to freshman Jakub Novak (6-2, 6-4) and sophomore Freddie Grant (6-3, 6-2), both of Grand Canyon. Junior David Higgins was downed by SDSU junior Nicholas Mitchell, 6-4, 6-4. Redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) took the first set over Aaron Bailey, before succumbing to the UC Irvine freshman, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

In the Round of 16, Manoharan topped Southern Utah junior Remus Cope, 7-6, 6-3. Tengbumroong had to retire from his matchup with Southern Utah junior Juan Erro after dropping the first set, 6-3. In consolation play, Han, Hashiyada and Higgins all lost to UCI representatives. Han and Hashiyada both grabbed their initial set before getting edged 10-8 in super tiebreakers.

Friday's Aztec Flight Round of 16 saw freshman Sahm Irvine fall to UOP junior Tadiwa Chinamo in his unofficial college debut in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. The Rancho Palos Verdes product then bounced back to defeat UCI freshman Mateusz Smolicki in a tight affair to open the consolation round, 7-5, 7-6. Junior Marc Isaia lost 6-2, 6-2 to GCU senior Mathieu Rajaonah, and then 6-1, 3-6, 12-10 to Southern Utah freshman Keonho Shin in consolation play.

In Black Flight doubles on Friday, Higgins and Irvine routed sophomore Antoine Barthe and freshman Mike Mkrtchian of UCI, 6-1. Ermert and Tengbumroong were edged by UCI's Man-Son-Hing and junior Daniel Gealer, 6-4. Han and Hashiyada were upended by SDSU's Mitchell and junior David Hough, 6-2. In the Red Flight, which began with just eight pairs, Isaia and Manoharan were bested by senior Chula Vista native Luis Lopez and Smolicki of UCI, 6-2.

On Saturday afternoon in the Warrior quarterfinals, Manoharan was eliminated by Grant, 6-2, 6-2. Irvine dispatched UCI senior Sasha Krasnov in the Aztec consolation semifinals, 6-2, 6-2. He and Higgins were beaten by the GCU senior tandem of Cvitanovic and Lucas Grego, 6-2, in the Black Flight quarters. Isaia and Manoharan fell to last year's Aztec Fall Invitational Flight 2 champions from SDSU in senior Raul de la Torre and junior Rafael Gonzalez Almazan, 6-2, before thumping USD junior Guus Koevermans and freshman Armin Rostami, 6-1, in the seventh-place match. Ermert and Tengbumroong edged Southern Utah junior Jose Ortega and sophomore Jake Williams, 7-6, in Black Flight consolation quarterfinals, while Han and Hashiyada lost to the UCI pair of Bailey and graduate student Mason Hansen, 6-2.

Finally on Sunday morning, Higgins and Irvine were topped by USD senior Pratt Keerasuntonpong and freshman Noah Dufort, 6-3, in the Black Flight third-place match.

Several other throw-together singles matches involving Tritons also took place. Among them was a Sunday debut for freshman Peter Stratton (San Diego/Del Norte HS), who fell in straight sets to Keerasuntonpong, 6-0, 7-6.

"We found we are not match tough, nor are we ready to compete on back to back to back days," remarked seventh-year head coach Timmer Willing. "We lack some grit, and are inexperienced in the way we prepare for a long weekend. These aspects are controllable, and wil get better immediately. The manner in which we bring out the grit and preparation will not be easy, but it will be done, and our newcomers will see significant improvement, while our returners will have an opportunity to lead."

UC San Diego will wrap up its fall competition schedule with the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships, Oct. 24-29, in Los Angeles at USC's Marks Tennis Stadium. The Tritons' 2019 dual-match slate will be released at a later date.

Friday, Oct. 5
Singles - Warrior Flight Round of 32
Jakub Novak (GCU) def. Richard Han (UCSD) 6-2, 6-4
Freddie Grant (GCU) def. Riku Hashiyada (UCSD) 6-3, 6-2
Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Bruce Man-Son-Hing (UCI) 6-4, 6-4
Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU) def. David Higgins (UCSD) 6-4, 6-4
Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Justin Cvitanovic (GCU) 6-4, 6-4
Aaron Bailey (UCI) def. Zach Ermert (UCSD) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1

Singles - Warrior Flight Round of 16
Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Remus Cope (SUU) 7-6, 6-3
Juan Erro (SUU) def. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-3, retired injury

Singles - Warrior Flight Consolation
Mason Hansen (UCI) def. Richard Han (UCSD) 4-6, 6-0, 10-8
Bruce Man-Son-Hing (UCI) def. Riku Hashiyada (UCSD) 6-7, 6-4, 10-8
Vatsal Bajpai (UCI) def. David Higgins (UCSD) 6-3, 6-3

Singles - Aztec Flight Round of 16
Tadiwa Chinamo (UOP) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Mathieu Rajaonah (GCU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 6-2, 6-2

Singles - Aztec Flight Consolation Quarterfinals
Sahm Irvine (UCSD) def. Mateusz Smolicki (UCI) 7-5, 7-6
Keonho Shin (SUU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 6-1, 3-6, 12-10

Doubles - Black Flight Round of 16
David Higgins/Sahm Irvine (UCSD) def. Antoine Barthe/Mike Mkrtchian (UCI) 6-1
Daniel Gealer/Bruce Man-Son-Hing (UCI) def. Zach Ermert/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-4
David Hough/Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU) def. Richard Han/Riku Hashiyada (UCSD) 6-2

Doubles - Red Flight Quarterfinals
Luis Lopez/Mateusz Smolicki (UCI) def. Marc Isaia/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 6-2

Saturday, Oct. 6
Singles - Warrior Flight Quarterfinals
Freddie Grant (GCU) def. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 6-2, 6-2

Singles - Aztec Flight Consolation Semifinals
Sahm Irvine (UCSD) def. Sasha Krasnov (UCI) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles - Black Flight Quarterfinals
Justin Cvitanovic/Lucas Grego (GCU) def. David Higgins/Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-2

Doubles - Black Flight Consolation Quarterfinals
Zach Ermert/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Jose Ortega/Jake Williams (SUU) 7-6
Aaron Bailey/Mason Hansen (UCI) def. Richard Han/Riku Hashiyada (UCSD) 6-2

Doubles - Red Flight Consolation Semifinals
Raul de la Torre/Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Marc Isaia/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 6-2

Doubles - Red Flight Seventh-Place Match
Marc Isaia/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Guus Koevermans/Armin Rostami (USD) 6-1

Singles - Extra Consolation
Guus Koevermans (USD) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 4-6, 6-2, 14-12

Sunday, Oct. 7
Doubles - Black Flight Third-Place Match
Noah Dufort/Pratt Keerasuntonpong (USD) def. David Higgins/Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-3

Singles - Aztec Flight Consolation Final
Akram El Sallaly (UOP) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) Default (withdrawal)

Singles - Extra Consolation
Valentin Lang (GCU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 6-2, 6-1
Pratt Keerasuntonpong (USD) def. Peter Stratton (UCSD) 6-0, 7-6

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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