Aztec Duo Advances at Pacific Coast Doubles Championships

Joel Popov (above) and Arnaud Restifo advanced to the round of 16 after posting three wins on Friday.
Joel Popov (above) and Arnaud Restifo advanced to the round of 16 after posting three wins on Friday.
March 2, 2018

Updated Draws

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- The San Diego State men's tennis program enjoyed a productive Friday at the 129th annual Pacific Coast Doubles Championships, posting eight wins in the main draw against four losses.

Highlighting the action for the Aztecs was the sophomore duo of Joel Popov and Arnaud Restifo, who advanced to the round of 16 after posting a 3-0 record, capped by a 9-8 nail-biter over the tandem of USC head coach Peter Smith and Trojan sophomore Brandon Holt. Earlier, SDSU combo got things rolling an 8-0 whitewash of Michael Blando and Jayson Blando, followed by an 8-6 decision over USC associate head coach Kris Kwinta and Trojan senior Jens Sweaney.

With their performances, Popov and Restifo will square off against the pairing of Uros Petronijevic and Zachary Svajda on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the round of 16.

In addition, the duo of junior Raul de la Torre and freshman Jan Kirchhoff emerged with a pair of victories on Friday. The Aztec teammates opened with an 8-5 triumph over Mason Hansen and Luca Marquard of UC Irvine before outlasting Phillip Martin and Matthew Sah by a 9-7 count. However, de la Torre and Kirchhoff had their progress stymied by the UCLA’s fifth-seeded Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith in the round of 32, 8-5.

The remainder of the SDSU delegation split two matches in the main draw, including senior Santiago Cevallos and sophomore Rafael Gonzalez Almazan, who began the day with an 8-6 clipping of Boise State’s Max Blancaneaux and Harvey Shackleton before suffering an 8-4 setback to Oklahoma State’s Artur Dubinski and Jurence Mendoza in the round of 64.

Likewise, junior Sander Gjoels-Andersen and sophomore Nicholas Mitchell got off to a quick start with an 8-4 decision over Reid Ponder and Brian Wang in their first-round battle, but fell short against Stanford’s Eric Fomba and Sam Turchetta by an 8-6 tally.

Elsewhere, SDSU head coach Gene Carswell and assistant coach Jeff Thomsen joined forces for a victory in the main draw as well on Friday. After receiving a bye in the round of 128, the Aztec duo edged the Pomona-Pitzer pairing of Joshua Gearou and Marko Mandic, 8-4, but were unable to solve the USC combo of Daniel Cukierman and Tanner Smith in an 8-2 defeat.

Sophomore David Hough and freshman Ignacio Martinez were also victimized by a Trojan tandem in their opening-round match, falling Thibault Forget and Mateusz Smolicki, 8-5.

The second-oldest tennis event in the United States, the Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships features pairings from numerous college teams, including nationally ranked squads in No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 UCLA, No. 11 USC, No. 15 Oklahoma State and No. 36 San Diego.

In addition to the Aztecs, the field also features players from such schools as Boise State, Boston College, California, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pepperdine, Pomona-Pitzer, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and Villanova.

The action continues with main draw and consolation matches Saturday and Sunday. Updated draws may be accessed by clicking the link at the top of the page.

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