This past weekend, the Tritons traveled to Surprise, Arizona for the annual USTA TOC Spring Invitational. This is a premier competition as the finalists of the tournament receive automatic bids to the USTA TOC National Championships for the following academic year. Unfortunately, as it falls on the weekend of finals week for quarter system schools, many members of the UCSD team had to make the long trek to Arizona right after finishing their finals.
Day 1 Pool play 3/23
It was a nice and sunny day in Surprise, perfect for playing tennis. UCSD was placed into the pool with three other schools: Arizona State University-B, DePaul University, and Washington State University. The day stated off with the Tirtons first matched up against ASU at 10am. Karoline Pintar and Jessica Chen started off in women’s doubles winning 6-4. Allen Gao and David Sharp began the men’s doubles, but when they were down 0-3 the captains decided to sub in Sunny Gupta and Seth Kim. Gupta and Kim fought hard but still lost the match by a score of 2-6. Down two games going into singles, Jeffrey Mah finished strong winning with a score 6-4, while Katya Skurikhin lost in a hard match by a score of 2-6. Going into mixed doubles, the Tritons were down 4 games. Anurag Coramutla and Karoline Pintar started the mixed doubles, hoping they could close out the match, but the captains had to sub in Katya to no avail, as they lost 4-6 in the match, and 20-26 in the overall score as ASU took the victory.
The second match of the day started around 2pm, with the team pumped up to try to win the next two matches, as the only way to make gold draw as a second place seed was by winning percentage. With that said, the Tritons had to win as many games as they could. The Tritons then went on to tinker with the lineup, matching Skurikhin and Pintar in women’s doubles and Kim and Gupta in men’s doubles. This move changed things up a bit as while the girls lost a close match 5-6, the boys won their match 6-3. In singles the tinkering in the lineup meant that Chen was in for girl’s singles, while Mah maintained her position. They stunned the opponents with scores 6-4 and 6-1 respectively. Up 7 games going into mixed, Coramutla and Skurikhin played mixed again. This time, they got the job done and won the match 6-3, ending with an overall score of 29-17 as the Tritons defeated DePaul University.
The Tritons faced off against Washington State University in the last match of the day. Although they had a long day of tennis, the Tritons were ready to finish their last match of the day strong. Both doubles matches went well, as they were both won by a score of 6-2. Chen again outplayed her opponent and won the match 6-5 in a tiebreak. Kshitij Gaur played his first match of the weekend, but lost to a tough opponent 1-6. Up 4 games going into mixed, Coramutla sat out for mixed and Kim played with Skurikhin. They shut the opponents with a score of 6-2, and UCSD won the third match 25-17!
Day 2 Bracket play 3/24
Because of their strong finish on Saturday, UCSD had among the highest winning percentages in the tournament, enabling them to compete in the gold bracket. Their first match of the day started at 10am, against second seeded Gonzaga University. UCSD knew they were in for a challenge as just last year, Gonzaga University competed at Nationals. This was evident, as both doubles pairs lost 3-6 and 5-6 respectively. There were some positives for the Tritons as Chen and Mah closed out the singles matches 6-2 and 6-3 continuing their undefeated streak all weekend long. In the mixed match, Coramutla and Skurikhin started, with the Tritons subbing in Gupta, hoping the pair could bring back the match. They fought a very tough match, but lost 3-6. Because of the valiant efforts of the singles players, the Tritons came out of the mixed doubles in a deadlock with Gonzaga. The supertiebreak then followed, but Gonzaga played a little better , and the Tritons lost 5-7. In the consolidation match, the Tritons faced off against the ASU B team again, but this time, the Tritons were ready. Pintar and Chen finished doubles 6-2, while Sharp and Mah played in doubles for the first time but lost 3-6. Chen, undefeated in singles, closed out her match with a score of 6-2. Gaur started in singles with a 3-0 lead, and Gao subbed in to play some singles. He closed out the match 6-3. Skurikhin and Gupta started mixed, while Gao subbed in for the second half of the match. The mixed pair won their match 6-4, and the Tritons won the rematch by a score of 27-17.
Day 3 Consolidation 3/25
Going into Day 3, the Tritons were already out of the gold bracket and had only two matches left to play. In the first match UCSD played Santa Clara University, a school that finished 4th in the Northern California section. Both doubles fell short, 2-6 and 5-6 respectively. Pintar played singles for the first time of the weekend, and lost 0-6 playing a tough opponent. Gaur played singles with a loss of 3-6. Down by 14 games, Coramutla played with Chen, hoping to bring back games. They finished the set 6-3, but lost in overtime 1-1. We lost the match 17-25. In the last match of the weekend, UCSD played against Purdue University. Both doubles won their matches 6-3, and we had a 6 game lead going into singles. Pintar fell short again 2-6, and Mah was down 0-3 when Gupta came in. Coramutla went in with a 0-5 disadvantage, but he was able to clutch three deuce games, but finally lost 4-6. Tied in games, the mixed match decided which school would take home the W. Sharp and Skurikhin lost in a very close set 4-6, and that ended up the whole tourney of the weekend.
It is a bit disappointing that the tournament took place at the weekend of finals week, but the way our players got back into the games was very exciting. Although they did not have time to practice in finals week, they presented themselves well after the first couple of matches. It is also the last tournament for Anurag Coramutla, and we surely appreciate our seniors’ efforts and contributions to the team!
Lineup: Karoline Pintar, Jessica Chen, Katya Skurikhin, Sunny Gupta, Seth Kim, Allen Gao, David Sharp, Anurag Coramutla, Kshitij Gaur, Jeffrey Mah