Jul 09, 2020

Bulldog rackets reign supreme

Brianna Campbell / Collegian File Photo
Men’s Tennis continue the season dominating in doubles and singles

Currently ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) as no. 46, the Fresno State’s men’s tennis team defeated the No. 71 Pacific Tigers on Thursday.

The Bulldogs were 3-0 in doubles competition and 5-1 in singles.

Tennis Coach Jay Udwadia said, “Pacific is a very solid team, so we started well with the doubles and we carried it all the way through the singles.”

The competition started with the doubles matches when the no. 36 ranked team in the country, Rikus de Villiers and Remi Boutillier, played against the Tigers’ Artem Gramma and Ivan Garcia-Castro. De Villiers and Boutillier won 8-2.

“They’re a good team, so we wanted to get out there and show them how we’re better than they are,” De Villiers said. “I think we did a good job of getting our offense out from the start.”
As the No. 34 doubles pair in the country, de Villiers and Boutillier said their focus is more on winning matches, not on the rankings.

“We don’t really like to look at that, we just keep playing and giving our best in every single match,” Boutillier said. “It’s good to be ranked, but it’s not the main thing. We want to go to every match, one-by-one, and take all of them seriously.”

In the other doubles matches, the no. 20 team in the ITA, Mirko Zapletal and Taylor Leiby, dominated Pacific’s Vegerd Veskimagi and Fernando Ristow 8-3, and Bulldogs Siddharth Alapati and Tejesvi Veerepalli defeated Karl-Erik Paaro and Renan Delsin 8-3.

“I was really happy to come out in doubles,” Udwadia said. I thought all three teams played well.”

In the singles matches, all Bulldogs won against except for Zapletal who struggled against Pacific’s Gramma 6-1, 6-0.

In his singles match, de Villiers overpowered his opponent Garcia-Castro, but almost did not make a sweep when he was forced to a tiebreaker in the second set.

“He [Garcia-Castro] was missing a lot of balls and I was missing a lot of balls, so I knew in order to win I have to hit my ball better than he does,” De Villiers said. “I think tactically, I played smarter than he did.”

The only ranked Bulldog in the singles division of the ITA is newcomer David Ayoun, who ranked no. 83. Ayoun came weeks before the fall season started and now has been recognized as one of the top singles players in the country.

“David has a good heart and is a good hard worker,” Udwadia said. “We really developed him as far as his volley game and serve, and we also let him do doubles play so he can be a well-rounded player. He’s done a good job of it and so far the results are showing.”

The Bulldogs’ next event will be at Texas A&M’s court, where they will be vying for a spot in the ITA’s National Team Indoors Championship.

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