TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona finished the first day of its season with a victory, as the Cats defeated UC Irvine 4-2 after falling to No. 67 Texas A&M Corpus Christi 4-2 on Friday in Albuquerque, N.M.
“This afternoon we had to rebound quickly after a really close loss,” said head coach Tad Berkowitz. “We did that and I am really proud of the guys for that.”
The win came down to a tough third set by Wildcat senior Kieren Thompson against UC Irvine’s Rafael Davidian. Thompson lost the first set 3-6, but rebounded to win the second 6-3. With the match on the line, Thompson defeated Davidian 6-4 in the third to give the Wildcats their first win of the season.
Arizona got its first point in the match from sophomore Naoki Takeda, who decisively defeated Tyler Pham 6-4, 6-1. Senior Mario Urquidi followed suit, disposing of Jonathan Poon in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(5).
The Anteaters attempted to mount a comeback as Irvine’s Jonathan Hammel defeated Dominic Bermudez 6-2, 7-5, but Fredrik Ask gave Arizona the 3-1 lead shortly after, defeated Ryan Cheung. After taking Cheung to a 7-6(5) win in the first set, Ask won the second 6-3 to garner a point.
Irvine kept the match interesting, as Caryl Hernandez defeated junior Wildcat Sumeet Shinde in three tough sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Despite the late challenge, Thompson tilted the scales in Arizona’s favor to conclude the match 4-2.
Earlier on in the day, Arizona fell to No. 67 Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 4-2, despite victories by Takeda and Urquidi.
“The morning match I felt we were a little tight for the first hour or so,” said Berkowitz. “We settled in later in the match but it was a little too late”
Takeda make quick work of Corpus Christi’s Javier Pujol, 6-1, 6-1, to give the Cats the early 1-0 lead, and Urquidi extended it to 2-0 by defeating Matt Westmoreland 7-5, 6-4.
Despite the early lead, these were the sole two points the Cats would score in the match.
Ask lost his three-setter to Peter Nagy, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, Shinde lost to Guillaume Rauseo 7-6, 6-4, and Bermudez lost to Pietro Jordao 6-1, 6-3.
The match was again decided on the third set in Thompson’s court, but this time the senior fell to Ricardo Mayagoitia 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6(4).
The Cats return to action Saturday, Jan. 18 to rematch UC Irvine at 9 a.m. before taking on New Mexico at 7:30 p.m.
For continued coverage of Arizona men’s tennis, visit ArizonaWildcats.com, follow @ArizonaMTennis on Twitter and Instagram, and on Facebook at facebook.com/ArizonaMensTennis.
UA def. UC Irvine 4-2
Ask (UA) def. Cheung (UCI) 7-6(5), 6-3
Takeda (UA) def. Pham (UCI) 6-4, 6-1
Urquidi (UA) def. Poon (UCI) 6-2, 7-6(5)
Thompson (UA) def. Davidian (UCI) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Hernandez (UCI) def. Shinde (UA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Hammel (UCI) def. Bermudez (UA) 6-2, 7-5
Texas A&M Corpus Christi def. UA 4-2
Nagy (TAMCC) def. Ask (UA) 7-6, 4-6, 6-3
Mayagoitia (TAMCC) def. Thompson (UA) 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6(4)
Rauseo (TAMCC) def. Shinde (UA) 7-6, 6-4
Takeda (UA) def. Pujol (TAMCC) 6-1, 6-1
Urquidi (UA) def. Westmoreland (TAMCC) 7-5, 6-4
Jordao (TAMCC) def. Bermudez (UA) 6-1, 6-3