M. Tennis Falls to Utah State in MW Semifinals, 4-1
April 29, 2017
BOISE, Idaho -- Fifth-seeded San Diego State saw its 2017 campaign come to a disappointing conclusion Saturday after dropping a 4-1 decision to top-seeded Utah State in the semifinals of the Mountain West Men's Tennis Championship at Appleton Tennis Center.
The Aztecs (10-15) emerged triumphant in doubles play, but were unable to maintain the momentum in singles, where the Aggies (22-8), ranked 45th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll, captured four straight encounters to escape with the victory.
With the loss, SDSU saw its five-match winning streak snapped, while USU claimed its fifth straight to advance to Sunday's final against UNLV, which upset Fresno State in Saturday's other semifinal contest.
The Aztecs were brimming with confidence after the doubles team of senior Milen Ianakiev (Elz, Hesse, Germany) and junior Santiago Cevallos (Queretaro, Mexico) posted a 6-0 whitewash of the Aggies' Samuel Serrano and Kai Wehnelt on the No. 1 court, while the tandem of senior Marko Goles-Babic (Zagreb, Croatia) and freshman David Hough (Traralgon, Australia) followed with a 7-5 nail-biter over Jaime Barajas and Andrew Nakajima in the No. 3 position.
With the doubles point safely stowed away, the match on court two was abandoned, as the duo of sophomore Sander Gjoels-Andersen (Klampenborg, Denmark) and freshman Nicholas Mitchell (Ojai, Calif.) were locked in a 6-6 barnburner with Jonas Maier and Jack Swindells.
SDSU's fortunes quickly evaporated in singles, however, as Utah State responded with four consecutive victories to sweep the season series from the Scarlet and Black.
Freshman Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (Madrid, Spain) had no answers for Maier in a 6-3, 6-0 defeat at No. 6, while fellow classmate Joel Popov (Tampere, Finland) experienced a nearly identical fate in the fifth spot, dropping a 6-0, 6-3 decision. In addition, Andersen suffered a straight-set loss of his own, falling to Serrano, 6-3, 6-4.
With the Aztecs suddenly trailing 3-1 on the team scoreboard, the remaining three matches were extended to the three sets. Cevallos took a one-set lead in his battle with Swindells at No. 4; however, his Aggie adversary stormed back to win, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, ending SDSU's season in the process.
The two matches at the top of the ladder were left unfinished as Goles-Babic and Ianakiev and found themselves trailing in third set of their encounters with Wehnelt and Barajas, respectively.
2017 Mountain West Championship
Order of finish:1, 3
Order of finish: 6, 5, 3, 4*