MALIBU, Calif. - 2019 marks the third straight year that the UCSB men's tennis team advanced to at least the semifinals in both doubles and singles at the ITA Southwest Regional Championship in Malibu, Calif., at Pepperdine's Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.
Juniors Joseph Rotheram and Victor Krustev won three matches in a row to put them within a match of the finals, but they ultimately fell to USC's duo of Bulis/Cukierman in straight sets, 6-4 6-3. The Gaucho pair rode the wave of momentum from capturing the 2019 UCSB Classic doubles title just under a week ago, convincingly knocking off pairs from LMU (8-3), UCLA (8-5), and Cal Poly (8-4) before they were defeated.
UCSB's ace Joseph Guillin, seeded second in the tournament, plays in the semifinal match of the singles on Sunday at 11:30 against USC's Mor Bulis. Guillin started his tournament run with a win the round of 64 vs Stater (Cal Poly), 6-2, 6-3. The Big West standout emerged victorious against two of USC's top players in Jackson (5-7, 6-1, 6-2) and Smith (6-7(7), 6-2, 6-2) with a default win vs Sharma (San Diego) sandwiched between them.
The winners of the semifinals earn automatic bids to the ITA Fall National Championships at the Newport Beach Tennis Club. The remainder of the 2019 ITA Southwest Regionals continues on Sunday. Information and live streaming for the tournament can be found at https://pepperdinewaves.com/sports/2019/10/15/sports-w-tennis-spec-rel-ncaa-18-tournament-html.aspx
Other tournament notes:
Guillin and Alex Vedri had a 7-4 lead against USC Bulis and Cukierman (2 match points while serving 7-5) but could not put the finishing touch on the win.
Will Saiga won in the opening round vs conference rival Peneff (UCI) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, but lost in the next round to San Diego's Borter, 3-6, 1-6.
Vedri also brought home an opening-round win, defeating Kaiser (LMU) 6-4, 6-2 before falling to USC's Frye 2-6, 1-6.
Sophomore Luka Vukmanovic dealt another opening-round blow to UC Irvine, defeating Barthe 6-4, 6-1. The 6'4" Swiss native was defeated by SDSU's Kirchhoff 6-7(8), 1-6 in the round of 64.
After Alex Soto Dominguez won 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 against GCU's Weber, the senior was defeated by San Diego's Gomerov 5-7, 3-6.
Rotheram lost in the singles round of 32 to UCLA's Goldberg 3-6, 7-6(9), 1-6, but posted another win against Sah (Stanford) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. The two recently faced off at the UCSB Classic, where Rotheram won in three sets.
USC is dominating in the tournament, having three of four remaining singles players in the bracket and controlling the doubles bracket with two teams in the finals.