Doubles Down for the Win

    After defeating the Grand Canyon duo of Stephan Murray and Patrice Giraldi 8-4 in the semifinal bout, the UCSD doubles team of Austin West and Devon Sousa took down the Grand Canyon pairing of Ahmed Saleem and Bastien Tonus 8-2 to win the regional championships at the USTA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association on Saturday, Oct. 1.

    Three UCSD doubles teams and four singles competitors qualified for the ITA Regionals, beginning the tournament on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

    In the first round of the tournament, the Triton doubles team of Andrew Malkozsak and Maxence Dutreix were defeated 8-4 by Sonoma’s David Hutton and Greg Eckstadt, while UCSD duo Max Jiganti and Trevor Dell had a stronger showing, beating Sonoma State pair Garret Gooch and Robert Henry 8-1.

    Jiganti and Dell were met with UCSD opposition in the quarterfinals, dropping the game to West and Sousa 8-5 — the pair that would take the tournament championship after beating Grand Canyon doubles teams in the semifinal and final rounds.

    “[West and Sousa] just played well,” assistant coach Timmer Willing said. “We had to play back-to-back against two Grand Canyon teams that are very competitive and our guys just physically played really well and were mentally just up and ready for the challenge.”

    In the singles competition, the Tritons did not fair as well.

    Seven Tritons qualified for the second round of singles play but were whittled down to four by the quarterfinal round, until only sophomore Max Jiganti stood in the semifinals for UCSD.

    Jiganti faced off against Grand Canyon’s Ahmed Saleem in a hard-fought three-set battle, winning 6-2, 4-6 and 10-8.

    In the same day, Jiganti defeated Stephan Murray of Grand Canyon in straight sets, 6-2 and 7-6, to take the semifinal win.

    In the tournament decider Jiganti faced Brigham Young University-Hawaii’s Yevhen Zakharov, losing in straight sets.

    “[Jiganti] went down early, but was able to pull out the match against Grand Canyon and did the same thing against BYU in the finals,” said Willing. “He made some adjustments at the end to give himself a chance to win, but it was just a little too late.”

    The championship pairing of West and Sousa have earned a spot at the ITA Small College National Championships, to take place Oct. 13-16 at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama.

    Willing says the pair will be working hard in preparation for the tournament.

    “We go to Irvine for an invitation where we will be facing extremely high competition,” Willing said. “We will get in there and try and work on some specific things, and hopefully that tough competition and a couple weeks of practice will give us a little help before we get into the tournament.”

    The men’s tennis team will return to the court this weekend, Friday Oct. 7 – Oct. 9, at the UC Irvine Invitational.

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