January 25. 2020 UCSD Tournament
Over winter break, the UCSD club tennis team was selected to host one of the biggest tournaments SoCal would have this year before Sectionals. It was a very rocky start due to the bad weather on Saturday morning, but eventually the matches got started. Around 9:30, UCSD's team got started with their first pool match. It was a very exciting one for the team, because they had beaten us at Cal Poly SLO last quarter. It was especially exciting for our captain Sunny Gupta, because he was going against one of his closest friends from high school. The match went almost perfectly as we won 4 of the 5 sets played.
A couple of hours later, UCSD was set to play their next match against Cal Poly Pomona, a team we played quite often in the past years. As a whole, it was relatively a straight forward match with the skill difference between the 2 teams being pretty apparent. However, the highlight from this match came from of UCSD's freshmen girl, Breanna Ford. Going up in singles against the best girl on the other team, a girl she lost 0-6 to the last time they played, she kept her head up the whole time. It was neck and neck the whole time, possibly the best match played of our team the whole day. She lost 6-4 sadly, but the perseverance illustrated by her and the improvement from the previous match up put a big smile on our coach’s face and the loss just became irrelevant.
The last match of the day was against LMU, who just recently started rebuilding their club team. Even though it wasn't a very competitive match from them, there was a positive attitude and happiness that made the entire time worthy. After feeling good after a solid day of tennis, some of the players decided to study and rest up for the second day while others went over to one of the players' house to celebrate Chinese New Years by making homemade dumplings and watching movies.
The next day was intense, because the losing teams will be eliminated from the tournament. We started playing against Pepperdine. It was a team we had lost against in the last 2 tournaments so UCSD was determined to pull through. Not only did UCSD pull through, they completely demolished Pepperdine, more than making up for the last 2 losses.
The next match was the semifinals match. We were up against UCI, very dangerous team who had made it to Nationals in the previous year. Men's doubles started off great as Kailash and Jesus, both Nationals veterans snagged two winning games. While women's doubles didn't as planned, men's singles, played by Michael Wu, and women's singles, played by Sisi Leong, both played impressive matches against talented players and both came out on top. Going into the final mixed match with a lead, Sisi and former UCLA club player Aaron Yu played their hearts out and UCSD was into the finals.
Heading into the finals, UCSD was going against USC, who had just beaten UCLA, the national champions from the year before. Everyone played hard gave it all they got on the court, but neither of doubles went our way. In the end, we weren't a match for them but not before we witnessed a star on our team give every inch of his body for the team in a gruesome match against an ex Division 1 varsity player from UCI. This man, Michael Wu, showed every single person watching that he didn't care who he was going up against. He was willing to fight till his body fell apart.
Overall, it was an amazing experience for UCSD's club team. The support we received from the audience was essential to the success. Playing at our home courts had given us the best results at a tournament all year along. And it was a great preparation for Sectionals in 3 weeks.