ORLANDO, Fla. - No. 56 Joseph Guillin became the sixth UC Santa Barbara athlete to earn a win at the NCAA singles championships on Monday after earning a very tough three-set win with scores of 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 2-0. Three of those wins were by Kip Brady who in 1989 won three matches at the NCAA Tournament making it to the quarterfinals, the furthest a Gaucho athlete has ever reached.
"We are super excited for Joe, he came out and did what he had to do. He has a chance to do some great things and we are just happy with where this program is," Head Coach Marty Davis said.
Unfortunately, not both Gauchos could advance as senior No. 16 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran was bounced on Monday after a tough loss that came down to a tiebreak in the third set.
Starting with Guillin, the junior did not start well as UCF's No. 43 Gabriel Decamps jumped out to a 4-1 first set lead. He dropped the first set, 3-6.
In the second set, Guillin jumped out to a 3-1 lead but would get tied up at 4-4. At one point, Guillin was down 5-6 in the second but outlasted Decamps to force a tiebreak and eventually take that 7-6 (4).
In the third, Guillin jumped out to a 2-0 lead before his opponent cramped up and was forced to retire.
"Joe didn't come out so hot but he really settled back in the second and I thought he was super competitive. It is not easy being down match point but ultimately his stamina was the difference. He just outlasted the other guy," Davis said.
Guillin is now 24-11 overall and 7-5 against nationally ranked opponents. He will be facing No. 61 Giovanni Oradini in the second round of the tournament.
Oradini defeated No. 69 Charlie Broom 6-3, 6-1 to advance in the tournament. Overall, Oradini is 19-12 and finished 13-9 in dual match play competiting at the number two spot.
With a win on Tuesday, Guillin will become an All-American alongside Moreno de Alboran even despite the senior's disappointing loss on Monday.
Moreno de Alboran played his heart out on Monday as he took on No. 58 Hady Habib of Texas A&M and had him on the ropes early. The New York native took a 6-3 first set win but Habib came back and fought to take the second set 6-1.
With the final set on the line, both players took every opportunity they had. Ultimately, the match came down to a tiebreak which went Habib's way as he took the win in the final set 7-6 (5).
Despite Moreno de Alboran's loss, the senior will always be an integral part of this program. He accomplished a lot in his four years and will be hard to replace, but he is a key reason this program is in this position going forward.
"Nic is the reason we are set up for great success in the future. He couldn't get it done today but it was not a lack of effort. He ultimately played hard just like he has the last four years and that is the player I will remember. He made us better in tennis but in the community as well. He's going to do great things," Davis said.
Moreno de Alboran is still not completely knocked out of the tournament, however, as he and senior teammate Anders Holm will be taking on Ohio State's Martin Joyce and Hunter Tubert, ranked No. 13. The senior pair follow in the footsteps of former teammates Morgan Mays and Simon Freund as they made an appearance back in 2017.
Holm and Moreno de Alboran also finished the season great winning nine of their last 10 matches to finish 12-7 in dual-match play. Joyce and Tubert only played four matches together during the dual-match season but won all four. They are 13-4 overall this year.
Guillin will play his second round match at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday, May 21 while Moreno de Alboran/Holm will play their match at 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday.
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