This past weekend the Tritons traveled to UC Irvine for a great warm-up club tennis tournament before sectionals. It was the first tournament of the year, and our players are excited to be back from winter break. UCSD took three teams to the event but from the get-go were with a clear disadvantage, as some of the players are sick and so we have to play with a reduced roaster. The following is an account of each day and what it entailed.
Saturday, January 27 – Round robin 18 Socal teams signed up for this tournament. There are a total of six pools, and each pool has only three teams. The matches are shortened to a four game set instead of a normal six game set due to court limitations. A team faced off against UC Riverside A to start off. Right away, we got off to good starts; Mina Vukovic and Qing Wen, and Kailash Venkatraman and Ryan Lee, who played women’s and men’s doubles, respectively, won 4-0 and 4-3. The momentum continued as Ryan Lee and Smita Sabada posted 4-0 and 4-2 victories in men’s and women’s singles. The mixed doubles duo of Wen and Boyd won 4-3, so our first round was a solid victory. In the second round, we faced UCLA’s B team; UCLA is always a tough opponent with a deep roster of solid players. We won women’s and men’s doubles 4-1 and 4-0, respectively. Sabada showed great resilience to lose her singles match 3-4. Boyd won his match in a thrilling tiebreak with a score of 4-3. Lee and Vukovic won mixed doubles 4-2. Undefeated on Day 1, we ended up securing for the gold bracket for day 2. B team faced off against UC Riverside’s B team for their first match. Mikaela McNally and Sarah Lim won women’s doubles 4-1 and Sanchit Gupta and Sanjeev Sinha won doubles 4-2. In singles, Katya and Jeff won 4-0 and 4-1, respectively. Going into mixed, we had Anurag Coramutla and Sarah Lim, and they were able to close out the match 4-2. B team’s second match was against USC-A, another very strong Socal team. Lim and McNally won 4-0, and Sinha and Gupta won in a close match 4-3. Same lineup as last time, Katya played well but lost 0-4, and Jeff won 4-2. Going into mixed, our lead was 3 games, and we lost the mixed set where we switched Lim with McNally in mixed. We were only up a game going into overtime, and we lost that close game. We are now in the super tiebreak since our games are tied. Luckily, Coramutla was able to clutch the win with two huge serves, and B team is placed for the gold bracket as well! Going to our C team, they have a really tough pool with UCSB-A and USC-B. In the first match, Esra Elhendy and Kenna Bayless lost in a close match 2-4, and Nick Garza and David Sharp lost to a very tough opponent 0-4. Going into singles, Kendra Scheer was able to close the match 4-2, whike Kshitij Gaur had a tough loss of 1-4. Finally, John Rabalais and Esra Elhendy played mixed, but lost 2-4. UCSB A team is a very strong opponent, as they qualified for nationals last year, and C team fought very hard for the matches. In their second match against USC-B team, both doubles fell 1-4 and 3-4. Keeping her momentum in, Scheer had another win of 4-2, and Garza lost 1-4. Gaur and Bayless played the mixed match, but the game deficit was too large to overcome, they lost 0-4. Having a tough pool, C-team is able to play in the silver bracket of Day 2.
Sunday, January 28 – Bracket round In the bracket round, we were back to playing full sets. In the first round of quarters in the silver bracket, our C team had a tough time playing UCSB-B team. Doubles lost 2-6 and 4-6, while singles turned some games back with a 6-5 and 6-1 win. Gaur and Bayless played again in mixed, but they lost in an unfortunate set of 2-6. Although C team lost the quarterfinals, they still had the consolation match to play. They won the second consolation match, and they are playing Cal Poly Pomona in the final match. Since it was later at night, both teams agreed to play a doubles match, a singles match, and mixed instead. They final score came to be 14-16, and C team ended all of their matches. Talking about B team, in the first round, our B team faced off against UC Irvine’s A team, a team that placed second in nationals last year. Our B team knew that it was going to be a hard match. We lost both women’s doubles (McNally and Lim) and men’s doubles (Gupta and Sinha) 1-6 and 3-6. Katya and Jeff lost 1-6 and 1-6, respectively. It came down to mixed doubles, which Coramutla and McNally lost 2-6. Facing one of the best teams in the nation, UCSD’s B team lost the quarterfinals, but they were still playing the consolation matches. They played USC’s B team. Doubles traded off, with women’s doubles (McNally and Lim) fell 2-6, while Sinha and Gupta logged a 6-0. B team traded off in singles again, as Katya lost 0-6 and Jeff won 6-4. It came down to mixed doubles. USC showed their depth, but Coramutla and McNally won 6-5, we only had one game to overcome in overtime. Bringing in the huge serves again, Coramutla ended the match in a super tiebreak score of 7-2, ending B team’s tournament run. B team can be happy with their run especially with the way they bounced back and played on Day 2. A team’s first round was against a new opponent, USC-B. Doubles split with the scores of 1-6 and 6-0. Going into singles, Sabada and Boyd had solid wins and their scores are 6-2 and 6-0. Vukovic and Lee played an overall very solid match to win 6-1. We were in the semifinals! In the semifinals we played against UCLA’s A team. We went with our normal lineup this time with Wen and Vukovic at women’s doubles and Lee and Venkatraman in men’s. The duos split with 6-1 and 0-6. We have a game down going into singles. Sabada and Boyd again carried us with wins 6-3 and 6-5. With a two game lead, we switched mixed lineup and put Vukovic to play with Venkatraman. They had a tough loss of 0-6, and that ended the A team run in the tournament. Overall, it was a great tournament to play before sectionals as we get ready for it. Roster/Attendees: A team: Ryan Lee, Kailash Venkatraman, JP Boyd, Mina Vukovic, Qing Wen, Smita Sabada B team: Anurag Coramutla, Sanjeev Sinha, K, Sanchit Gupta, Jeff Mah, Mikaela McNally, Sarah Lim, Katya, Skurikhin C team: Kshitij Gaur, David Sharp, Nick Garza, Kenna Bayless, Kendra Scheer, Esra Elhendy Captains: Alexander Loh, Qing Wen Safety Officer: Alexander Loh Coach: Justin Yang
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