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Déjà vu All Over Again! Lobos Sweep BYU Second Straight Day

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico men’s tennis team reeled off its fourth straight win, and second straight over BYU, as once again the Lobos swept doubles and then took wins at Nos. 1, 2 and 6 singles for a second straight 4-0 shutout win.  However, this one had a few more fireworks thanks to a rare match default on BYU at No. 2 singles.

Before all of that, UNM once again rolled in doubles.  Nicolas Prieto and Arda Azkara continued their hot play with a convincing 6-2 win at No. 2 doubles, and that was followed up by Rafael Abdulsalam and Georgia Samaha with a 6-1 win at No. 3 doubles.

Ironically, it was Abdulsalam that was the beneficiary of the default, although he was cruising at the time.  UNM took all six opening sets, but it was Abdulsalam that turned his into an immediate victory.  It looked nothing like a win early, falling behind 4-1, but after holding serve for 4-2, he broke, held and broke again in a matter of minutes, flipping the set to 5-4 in his favor.

Rafael then was up 30-15 when Matheus Leite called a ball on the far side of the court out.  He was overruled by the chair umpire to make it 40-15, and Leite said a magic word, causing a code violation and a penalty point, giving the game and set to Abdulsalam.  However, Leite continued his argument and was eventually defaulted from the match, giving Abdulsalam a second straight win on the weekend.

With that it was a matter of which Lobos would close out first, and it turned out to be the same two as yesterday.  Arda Azkara took on a different opponent at No. 1 singles in Wally Thayne, but the result was the same, winning 6-3, 6-3.  That made it 3-0, and before they were done shaking hands it was over.  Georgio Samaha continued his red-hot play with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win over Tennyson Whiting to end the match.

The other three singles matches were halted, and UNM was up in all three.  At No. 3 singles, Aram Noroozian made his collegiate debut and was up 7-5, 2-3 on serve.  At No. 4, Alex Maggs was up 6-4, 2-2 and Jan Pucalka at No. 5 was on his way to another win with a 6-4, 4-2 lead.

The Lobos have now won four straight after opening 0-2 on the year and UNM will go for a fifth straight on Sunday when UNM hosts Northern Arizona at noon at McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium.

NOTES: Prieto and Azkara are now 4-1 in doubles, all at No. 2 … Pucalka’s winning streak in singles stayed at five straight, and Samaha and Azkara have each won four straight UNM is now 34-34-1 all-time against BYU …


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