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Abdulsalam, Azkara Advance to Round of 32 at ITAs

by Frank Mercogliano

PROVO, Utah — New Mexico’s two seeded players, Rafael Abdulsalam and Arda Azkara both advanced to the Round of 32 of the ITA Mountain Regionals singles bracket, highlighting a solid opening day in which Lobo tennis players went 4-5 in singles and 2-0 in doubles.

The Lobos went 4-1 against unseeded players, including opening round wins by freshmen Joel Pierleoni and Georgio Samaha.  Pierleoni and Samaha both defeated Montana State Bobcats.  Pierleoni took out Daan van Dijk 6-3, 6-4 and Samaha won over Nejc Sitar 6-2, 6-4.  UNM’s only unseeded loss was Jan Pucalka’s 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 loss to Weber State’s Elyes Marouani.

Alexander Maggs and Nicolas Prieto also started in the round of 128, and both fell to seeded opponents.  Prieto faced Idaho’s Francisco Bascon, and the 24th-seeded Bascon won 6-2, 6-2.  Maggs battled hard against No. 25 Patrick Trhac of Idaho State, but fell in a close match 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.

In the round of 64, UN’s two seeded players won handily. Azkara, clocking in at No. 13, had no problems with Boise State’s Lawrence Sciglitano, winning 6-1, 7-5.  Abdulsalam faced Bo Han Li of Weber State and also won intraight sets 6-2, 6-2.

Pierleoni fell 7-5, 6-3 to the No. 30 seed Daniel Krulig and Samaha lost to No. 31-seeded Robert Baylon of Air Force.

Abdulsalam will face the No. 9 seed Kyryll Kryvchun of Boise State on Wednesday at 11:15 am while Azkara  faces unseeded Tristan Sarap of Weber State Wednesday at 12:45 pm

In doubles Rafael Abdulsalam and Nicolas Prieto took out Brigham Andrus and Alex Lin of BYU 8-7 (8-5). Alex Maggs and Jan Pucalka took out Felipe Acosta and Javier Ruiz Medina of Utah State 8-7 (8-4).  All three Lobo pairings will be in action on Wednesday.  Joel Pierleoni and Arda Azkara, the No. 10 seed, face Weber State’s Sebastian Buxman and Arthur Serafim of Weber State at 10 am while Abdulsalam and Prieto face No. 5 seeded David Cierny and Bodin Zarkovic of Utah State at 9 am.  Maggs and Pucalka will face the No. 2 seed in Utah’s Francisco Capalbo and Geronimo Busleiman at 9:45 am.

Singles – Round of 128

Joel Pierleoni d. Daan van Dijk (Montana State) 6-3, 6-4
Georgio Samaha d. Nejc Sitar (Montana State) 6-2, 6-4
(24)Francisco Bascon (Idaho) d. Nicolas Prieto 6-2, 6-2
Elyes Marouani (Weber State) d. Jan Pucalka 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
(25)Patrick Trhac (Idaho State) d. Alexander Maggs 7-6 (7-5), 7-5

Singles – Round of 64
(20)Rafael Abdulsalam d. Bo Han Li (Weber State) 6-2, 6-2
(30)Daniel Krulig (Denver) d. Joel Pierleoni 7-5, 6-3
(31)Robert Baylon (Air Force) d. Georgio Samaha 6-4, 6-4
(13)Arda Azkara d. Lawrence Sciglitano (Boise State) 6-1, 7-5

Singles – Round of 32
(20) Rafael Abdulsalam vs. (9)Kyryll Kryvchun (Boise State) – Wednesday at 11:15 am
(13)Arda Azkara vs. Tristan Sarap (Weber State) – Wednesday at 12:45 pm

Doubles – Round of 64
Rafael Abdulsalam/Nicolas Prieto d. Brigham Andrus/Alex Lin (BYU) 8-7 (8-5)
Alex Maggs/Jan Pucalka d. Felipe Acosta/Javier Ruiz Medina (Utah State) 8-7 (8-4)

Doubles – Round of 32
(10)Joel Pierleoni/Arda Azkara vs. Sebastian Buxman/Arthur Serafim (Weber State) – Wednesday, 10 am
Rafael Abdulsalam/Nicolas Prieto vs. (5)David Cierny/Bodin Zarkovic (Utah State) – Wednesday, 9 am
Alex Maggs/Jan Pucalka vs. (2)Francisco Capalbo/Geronimo Busleiman (Utah) – Wednesday, 9:45 am