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Men's Tennis Finishes Strong in Arizona

by Frank Mercogliano

TUCSON, Ariz/TULSA, Okla. — The Lobos fared well in Arizona, and while no championships were won in any of the draws, the Lobos went a combined 10-8 in Arizona, including a pair of runner-up finishes in doubles.  Meanwhile, Both Rafael Abdulsalam and Arda Azkara saw their runs in the ITA Championships in Tulsa fall short in the round of 128.

At the Arizona Invitational, both Lobo doubles teams got to the draw championships, ultimately falling.  In the blue draw, after an opening round win by Joel Pierleoni and Alex Maggs 6-4 over NAU’s Dominik Buzonics and Alex Groves, the pair advanced to the semifinals where they beat New Mexico State’s Gijs Akkermans and Corey Clarke 6-1.  That sent them into the final, where they fell 6-3 to homestanding Arizona’s Hiroki Sakagawa and Brett Ford.

In the red doubles draw, it was Nocolas Prieto and Georgio Samaha that also got to the finals.  They opened with a 6-3 win over Wyatt Anderson and Grzgorz Rudnicki of Grand Canyon.  In the semifinals, they took out Gonzaga’s Arthus Bassetiere and Theo McDonald 6-4 before dropping a close 6-4 match in the final to Arizona’s Gustaf Strom and Conner Olson.

In singles, Pierleoni went 1-2 in the blue draw, winning his opening match against Tom Hann of Gonzaga before falling to Louis Menard of NMSU and Pablo Galvan on Gonzaga in the fourth place match.

In the red draw, Samaha won the backdraw, going 2-1.  He dropped his opener but bounced back with wins over Chris Steele of NAU 6-3, 6-4 and Marcus Sulan of NAU 0-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the white draw, Alex Maggs got to the final, going 2-1.  He opened with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Morgan Donovan of NAU and follwed that with a comeback 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over host Arizona’s Jared Harwood.  That put him in the final against Arthus Bassetiere of Gonzaga, where he lost 6-3, 6-3.

In the gray draw, the largest of the four brackets, Prieto went 1-2 in finishing fourth.  He had an opening bye and then beat NMSU’s Brett Ford 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.  He lost to Daniel Dillon of NAU in the semis 6-3, 6-3 and then he dropped a 6-0, 7-5 decison to Arizona’s Conner Olson.

At the ITA’s, both Abdulsalam and Azkara won opening round matches before falling in the next round.  Abdulsalam defeated UT-Arlington’s Daichi Akiyoshi 6-1, 6-1 before losing in a third-set tiebreaker to Oscar Pinto Sansano 7-5, 2-6 10-8.  Azkara beat Ricardo Alban, also of UT-Arlington 6-2, 6-4 before dropping his next match, losing to Matt Hulme of Omaha 6-4, 6-2.

UNM returns to the courts this weekend for the Gaucho Invitational at US Santa Barbara October 8-10.