Four Gauchos Advance to ITA Regionals Singles Round of 32, One Doubles Pair Reaches Round of 16

Joseph Rotheram (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Joseph Rotheram (photo by Eric Isaacs)

MALIBU, Calif. — Thursday's action at the 2017 ITA Southwest Regionals went pretty well for the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team who saw four of its eight competing athletes reach the second day of singles play while the doubles pair of Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm advanced to the Round of 16.

"Having four guys make it to the Round of 32 [in singles] and the one doubles pair advance is a pretty good start for us," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "This is the biggest tournament of the fall, winning in this regional means being able to go to some national tournaments later.,"

It was a great day for senior Simon Freund who after losing his opening draws the last two tournaments was able to come up with a big win in the Round of 64. After receiving first-round bye, the 10th seeded Freund went against UCLA's Ben Goldberg beating him in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.

Freund, fresh off a consolation title at the UCSB Classic, will now face Pepperdine's Lautaro Pane in the Round of 32.

Redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram was also very impressive on Thursday picking up two wins, including one against Hawaii's top-ranked player.

The Manhattan Beach native first defeated Justin Cvitanovic 3-6, 6-4, 5-1 as the Grand Canyon athlete could not finish the match due to injury. He then faced Felix Albert and was able to knock him off thanks to an impressive 7-6 (9) rally in the first set and a 6-3 win in the second.

"Joey was the highlight of the day," Davis said. "Beating Felix from Hawaii was a great win, he is a tremendous player. He was the surprise of the day, not that we didn't think he could win, but from the standpoint that this was the best match I have ever seen him play."

Rotheram's journey gets a lot tougher in the second day of action however, as the California native faces third-seeded and 82nd ranked Jack Jaede of USC.

Moreno de Alboran and Holm both had byes in their first round matches in the Round of 128 as Freund did and both were also able to pick up victories in the Round of 64.

Moreno de Alboran defeated UCI's Humberto Lopez 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to advance and face Arizona's Carlos Hassey while Holm SDSU's Arnaud Restifo 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

"Both being seeded we definitely expected them [Alboran and Holm] to win today but they also did a great job in doing so. Hopefully they play well tomorrow," Davis said.

Redshirt freshman Daunte Harris and true freshman Henrik Atlevi both lost their opening draws of the day as Harris lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 while Atlevi lost 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-1. Both will play in the consolation bracket tomorrow.

Joining them in the backdrop will be freshman Ajai Shekhera and senior Chase Masciorini. Shekhera won his opening match 6-1, 7-6 (2), however, he lost in the Round of 64 to UCLA's Keegan Smith 6-1, 6-1. Smith took third place in the A Flight of the UCSB Tournament and is one of UCLA's top freshman.

Making his season debut today after sitting out the Classic, Masciorini caught a break in his first match as his opponent withdrew. In the Round of 64, however, the senior was bested 6-1, 6-4 against a pretty tough opponent in Pepperdine's Petr Iamachkine seeded seventh in this regional.

In doubles play, familiar junior duo Moreno de Alboran and Holm shined in their second round match after receiving a first round bye. The fourth-seeded pair easily defeated San Diego's Pratt Keerasuntonpong and Garrett Kurtz 8-1.

"Fall is a good time to experiment for us but we wanted Anders and Nic are quite good together and we wanted to give them a chance to win the regional," Davis said. "If they play the rest of the tournament like they did today, spectacularly, they have a chance."

The two now face Loyola Marymount's Nicholas Borchenko and Gabriel Diaz.

Freshman duo Atlevi/Rotheram failed to get a win in their opening against a tough UCLA pair losing 8-3. Pairs made up of Harris/Masciorini and Freund/Shekhera won their Round of 64 matches 8-5 and 8-4 respectively before losing in the Round of 32 ending their run in the doubles portion of the tournament.

Doubles pair Moreno de Alboran and Holm will continue their run at the ITA Southwest Regionals at 9 a.m. with a single match.

The rest of the team will continue singles play, both regular and consolation, with two matches immediately following doubles play.