INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Representing UC Santa Barbara in its first-ever appearance in the men's singles open at the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, junior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran fell short of a major victory for him and the program as a whole, losing to No. 7 ranked and ninth-seeded Alfredo Perez in straight sets, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8).
"It was a hell of a match, [Perez] made it to the Round of 16 last year in the NCAA singles tournament so he was a tough opponent, one of the best in country" Head Coach Marty Davis. "The loss left us frustrated, we are struggling to find an appetite but we will start focusing on tomorrow."
The loss came as a result of great play from Perez, representing the University of Florida, but also Moreno de Alboran missing out on some great opportunities.
In the first set, the New York native held a 5-2 advantage while also serving and had double-set point when he was serving at 5-4, 40-30. He failed to convert, and when the match went into a tiebreaker he ended up losing the set 7-6 (5).
The second set was much of the same as Moreno de Alboran again jumped to a quick lead, this time at 3-0 but Perez would eventually tie it up at 3-3.
During the tiebreaker in the second, Moreno de Alboran had three set points opportunities serving at 6-5 and 7-6 and one returning serve 8-7 but couldn't convert on any. He ended up losing 10-8 in the tiebreaker on an overruled call.
"Nic, in hindsight, could've been a little more assertive and taken a little more risks because, against players this quality you have to take the match, you can't wait for them to mess up because they won't often," Davis said. "But that would be a hypercritical analysis, his level of tennis right now is beyond impressive."
The good news for Moreno de Alboran is that his tournament run is still not over. Losing in the first round means the junior will compete in the consolation bracket tomorrow with a great opportunity to beat another talented player in Stanford's Sameer Kumar who is ranked 97 in the country.
Kumar is coming off a loss to Columbia's Victor Pham in a three-set match by scores of 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
"There are still 32 guys Nic to possibly beat in the back draw so that is exciting," Davis said. "Any wins out here, any wins are huge because these are all guys that are in the best in the county so Nic has to regroup quickly and play well. And Nic has a really good chance if he could keep playing the same level of tennis"
Moreno de Alboran continues his run at the ITA National Fall Championships in the back draw on Thursday, November 2nd beginning at 1:30 p.m.