MALIBU, Calif. — Junior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran continued his excellent run at the 2017 ITA Southwest Regionals upsetting the 75th nationally ranked player in the country, UCLA's Logan Staggs, to advance to the semifinals.
"I am excited about the level of tennis Nic is playing right now," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "The improvements he has made are so apparent and the level he is playing at is so high it's super fun watching him play."
With the victory on Saturday, Moreno de Alboran became just the second UC Santa Barbara men's tennis to advance to the semifinals at the ITA Southwest Regionals. Tobias Galskov was the first Gaucho to reach the semifinals back in 2013-14 during his junior year as well. He would lose his semis match in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.
Facing Staggs, who was seeded second in this tournament, would not be easy, however, Moreno de Alboran was not fazed defeating the senior in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-4. In all four of his singles matches at this tournament, the junior has been able to secure straight-set victories.
Moreno de Alboran is the highest remaining seed in the tournament with an eighth seed. The New York native will now have a tough match against 11th seeded Michael Geerts.
Geerts, representing Arizona State in this regional, comes into this match hot after upsetting third-seeded Jack Jaede of USC in three sets. The senior has reached a professional singles ranking as high as 435 and 390 in doubles.
Before securing a win in singles, Moreno de Alboran alongside his partner Anders Holm would first play their quarterfinals doubles match against USC's Jack Jaede and Tanner Smith.
The duo saw their run end after an amazing match that went down to the wire, losing 8-7 (8) in the quarters. During the tiebreaker, the junior duo for UCSB had match point up 6-5, however, they were unable to capitalize losing 10-8.
The Moreno de Alboran/Holm duo was the last UCSB pair left in the tournament.
"The match could not have been any closer and the quality of the tennis was fabulous and fun to watch," Davis said. "These two are still only juniors and so they will have one more chance to win the Regional next year but they are clearly one of the better teams on the west coast and everybody respects that."
Redshirt freshman Daunte Harris was the only other Gaucho in action today taking part in the Consolation portion of the tournament. Harris won his fourth-round match in three sets by scores of 4-6, 6-1, 10-3 against Arizona State's William Kirkman.
The California native then saw his run at the regional end after a quarterfinal loss to Hawaii's Blaz Seric in straight sets 7-5, 6-2.
Without a doubt, despite the tough loss in doubles play, Moreno de Alboran is definitely playing some of the best tennis of his career thus far. If the junior can get past Geerts, then in the Championship match he will face a player that was not seeded coming into this tournament.
"Only one of our three remaining players advanced today, but Nic's win was so impressive that it's hard not to feel good about today's action," Davis said. "The guy he plays tomorrow is obviously very good so we are all excited to watch that match and see what comes of it."
Moreno de Alboran will continue his ITA Southwest Regional run with his semifinals match on Sunday, October 22 at 12:30 p.m.