SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In the first day of action at the annual UCSB Classic, the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team showed some tremendous poise in both singles and doubles play playing well in each flight despite some losses along the way.
The tournament began with doubles play across three different flights. Representing UCSB in the top flight, Flight A was made up of redshirt sophomore Joseph Rotheram and sophomore Victor Krustev. Both players were regulars in Santa Barbara's doubles lineup last year, but this was there first time playing together.
The duo managed to play very well but they met there match in the first round as Rotheram/Krustev lost to Washington's Jack Davis and Piers Foley by a final score of 8-7 (4).
Flight B actually had no Gauchos but Flight C had two pairs. First up, junior Alex Soto paired with senior Hironori Koyanagi and they defeated Washington's Torosik/Smith 8-5. They will face Shenkiryk/State from Cal Poly tomorrow.
The other Gaucho pair in Flight C was sophomore Luka Vukmonovic and redshirt freshman Wilhelm Saiga. The duo defeated UC Davis's Alex Scemanenco and Chethan Swanson in a very contested match, 8-7 (2). They will face Oregon's pair comprised of Oshima/Coste tomorrow.
In singles play, Koyanagi was the big winner defeating UCLA's Connor Hance to advance to the next round.
The senior played great despite some struggles in the middle of the match winning in three sets by scores of 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Koyanagi will now face Stanford's Michael Genender who also won his match 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 over Washington's Davis.
Krustev was the other Gaucho in Flight A, but he was unable to come up with the win losing to Oregon's Joshua Charlton 7-5, 6-3. Krustev will now take part in the consolation bracket hoping to do what former Gaucho Simon Freund did last season, win the back draw title. He will face UCLA's Matthew Tsolakyan tomorrow.
Three other UCSB athletes participated in Flight B of the tournament with the big name being senior Anders Holm earning a 7-5, 7-6 (6) win over Loyola Marymount's Max Kaiser. He will face Cal's Jackson Suh, who had an impressive 6-0, 6-4 win, tomorrow.
The other two Gauchos also earned victories with Rotheram battling back against Fresno State's Angus Bradshaw to take the win in three, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Soto also earned a win defeating Cal Poly's Daly Meinert 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3).
In Flight C, the lone representative, Saiga, defeated Cal Poly's Andrew Whitehouse in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5.
In the D Flight, Vukmonovic did not play today but is set for two matches tomorrow. Flight D is not like the other flights as it is not so much a bracketed tournament but rather a series of matches that will pit each of the five athletes against each other over the next three days.
The UCSB Classic continues Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. starting with the doubles portion of the tournament followed by two singles matches.
Flight A of the tournament will take place at the Recreation Center Courts while Flights B and D of the Classic will be taking place at the Rob Gym Courts. Flight C will be at the Stadium Courts.