All ‘dogs, all day

Brianna Campbell / The Collegian

Fresno State men’s tennis team dominated the Bulldog Classic, Fresno State’s own tournament. Bulldog players won all three tournament titles on Sunday, the final day of the three-day tourney.

Rikus de Villiers successfully defended his tournament title against fellow Bulldog Tejesvi Veerepalli.

Siddharth Alapati won the flight B finals against partner Taylor Leiby. Later that day, Alapati and Leiby came together to play in the doubles finals, but lost against de Villiers and Remi Boutillier.

It was an interesting turn of events when the Bulldogs looked at their brackets to see who their upcoming tournament opponents were and saw that it was their own teammates.

“It was a good and bad feeling because we’ve known each other really well, so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s tough because [Veerepalli] could exploit that and the other way around,” de Villiers said of his opponent Veerepalli. “It’s still a good feeling though because it’s two Bulldogs in the finals.”

Brianna Campbell / The Collegian

The match between de Villiers and Veerepalli was filled with a fiery opposition from the get-go. The two players forced about 10 deuces as they fought for the first point of the game.

“Rikus had a big serve in that game, so I knew I had to break him. It was a good first game because we kept breaking each other up until 10 or 12 deuces,” Veerepalli said.

Emotions ran high in the game. But when Veerepalli forced a double fault giving de Villiers the match point, he graciously made his way to the middle of the court to shake de Villiers’ hand. De Villiers won the tournament with the final score 7-6, 6-0.

“I don’t like playing against teammates because we can get really into the match and then we have to face each other right after the match. It can get very intense,” Veerepalli said.

The same intensity was seen on the faces of Leiby and Alapati when they were battling against each other for the flight B title. The match was long and intense, with the advantage shifting from Leiby to Alapati in every play. Alapati won in three sets 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

“Normally I’m tough on the court. But today I was a bit more tensed playing against my own teammate,” Alapati said. “It was good tennis. Really good competition.”

This is Alapati’s second Bulldog Classic flight B title.

Right after their singles match, Leiby and Alapati sat beside each other on the bench as they waited for their doubles match against de Villiers and Boutillier to start. The pair had only minutes of rest before they started playing again.

Brianna Campbell / The Collegian

Alapati said they were fresh from their match, he and Leiby did not have a hard time returning to play as teammates again.

“When we played each other it got competitive, but when we play together we’re fine again,” Alapati said. “Once we’re out of the court, we’re all friends again.”

Boutillier and de Villiers won their doubles match, earning the Bulldog Classic doubles title with the final score of 8-3.

De Villiers was the most dominating player of the entire tournament. With no losses and two titles. He said he didn’t even realize that he was the champion again until someone had congratulated him about it.

“I wasn’t thinking about it, but I did know that a Bulldog will win it, because we were doing well as a team throughout the tournament,” de Villiers said.

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