This past week, the UCSD club tennis’ A team attended the Tennis on Campus National Championships, held in Orlando, Florida at the USTA National Campus. The team flew out to Orlando on Tuesday night, April 11; with a team of 8 players (5 guys, 3 girls), with high spirits eager to represent Southern California and UC San Diego against 63 other top teams from across the nation. They returned on Sunday April 16 after a roller coaster of a competition. The following is a description of their time at the competition by day.
Day 1: Thursday April 13, 2017
We started our match at 9am on a windy Thursday, playing against Georgetown University. Due to the windy conditions of the court, most of our players were set aback by the vastly different conditions that we were used to playing in. We started off men’s doubles with a tough set: the doubles team of Ryan Lee and Alexander Loh went down 3-6, and the women’s team of Melissa Tran and Qing “Vivian” Wen went up 6-4. In singles, we had 2 tight sets, with women’s singles Smita Sabada winning 6-5 (5-4 in the tiebreak) on a sudden death point, and men’s singles Erik Wu losing a tight 4-6. Down 2 going into mixed, Lee and Tran won the mixed set a convincing 6-2 to start off the tournament with a big win, 25-23.
Our second match was against Cornell University, the top team in our pool. In doubles, both men’s and women’s teams went against tough opponents, with Lee and Loh losing 2-6 and Tran and Wen losing 5-6 in a tough tiebreak. Wu played a fantastic singles set after a slow start and won 6-5, whereas Sabada met her match and lost a very tight set 3-6. Down 7 going into mixed, Lee and Wen won the set 6-4 but lost the next game in over time for a final score of 22-28.
The last match of the day was against North Carolina State University. Arguably the tightest match of the whole tournament, we put in freshman Kailash Venkatraman to play doubles with Loh, taking the win in a fantastic set at 6-3. In women’s doubles, Tran and Wen once again proved their worth and won their set 6-3 as well. We traded off singles with Lee playing men’s singles with Wu subbing in at 0-4 to lose the set 6-0. Sabada however completely dominated the other 3 girls that were subbed into her singles match and won her set 6-0. Thus, going into mixed up 6 games, we put in our last player on the roster, 5th year Charlie Tamer, to play with Tran. Going down 1-4, we subbed out Tamer for Loh, who ended up losing the set 1-6 as well as the remaining 1 game in over time. Thus, we were now in the super tiebreaker to 7 points. We subbed out Tran for Wen, and in a tight supertiebreaker, we managed to win off of Wen’s overhead in a sudden death point.
Day 2: Friday April 14, 2017
In the silver draw, we had a bright and early match at 8am against University of Arizona. With Venkatraman and Loh, we won a tight set 6-5, and with Wen and Tran, we dominated the other girl’s team 6-2. In singles, Sabada played a fantastic match, winning 6-2, and for men’s singles, after Wu looked a little cold after going down 3 games, Lee brought it back to lose 4-6 in the set. Up 7 going into mixed, Tamer and Wen were put into mixed, and with a sub later in the set, we closed out the win in over time to win 25 to 21.
The second round in silver draw, we played against University of Miami. Women’s doubles team Tran and Wen won 6-2, and Venkatraman and Loh lost a close 4-6 match. In singles however, we faced tough opponents whose plays countered that of our singles players. Lee lost his singles set 3-6, and Sabada lost her set 1-6 against a very strong opponent. In mixed, Loh and Wen also lost the set 2-6 to lose against Miami for a total score of 26-16.
In the 3rd round (backdraw match), we faced Gonzaga University. Putting in Tamer and Venkatraman in doubles, we lost the set 3-6. In men’s singles, Wu went down 0-3, and after subbing in Loh, we still ended up losing the set 0-6. Winning women’s doubles but losing women’s singles, we were down 8 going into the mixed set. Loh and Tran played mixed and won the set 6-4, but then lost the next game in overtime to lose against Gonzaga 19-26.
Day 3: Saturday April 15, 2017
In our last match of the tournament, we decided to change things up a bit, since it was the last tournament for Erik Wu and Charlie Tamer (both are done with club tennis after this quarter). Tamer and Venkatraman took a convincing win in men’s doubles with a score of 6-3, and Tran and Wen again crushed the opposing women’s team 6-0. In singles, Wu dominated with a 6-1 score, and Sabada kept it close with a 4-6 match. In mixed, we decided to put Wu in to play with Wen; after losing the set 3-6, Wu held serve the next game to win in overtime and close out the win, a final score of 26-16.
Overall in the tournament, we might not have had the greatest wins or the greatest match plays due to windy conditions in Florida, but we were definitely the most spirited team out there. Cheering for not only our team but also Southern California teams such as Irvine and LA, as well as teams that we had defeated such as Georgetown and University of Arizona, we had great sportsmanship and enjoyed our time in Orlando. Not only did we fight competitively, we also kept up a cheerful and positive atmosphere that definitely carried us all the way to the last day of the tournament.