Men's tennis eliminated at UNLV tournament
Arizona men’s tennis fell at the Larry Easley Memorial Classic held by UNLV this past weekend. The team sent senior Mario Urquidi and sophomore Matt Dunn to the tournament. They were eliminated in the doubles quarterfinals and in singles consolation quarterfinals.
Urquidi and Dunn advanced to doubles quarterfinals on Saturday, taking on Daniel Cochrane and Dante Saleh of Auburn University. The duo lost in an extended match, 8-7(4), after being down 7-4, pushing the match to 7-all and forcing extended play.
“I felt we were right there. We lost 8-7 to a really strong team from the SEC, in Auburn, and it just came down to a couple points here and there,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said. “Auburn was just too good down the stretch.”
In singles play, Urquidi was eliminated from the tournament in consolation quarterfinals after taking on UNLV’s Denys Pume and losing 6-4, 6-3.
“He [Urquidi] was up against some good guys and I think he put too much pressure on himself instead of going out there and competing and trusting his instincts in the game,” said Berkowitz.
Dunn also competed on Saturday in singles, falling to Idaho’s Artemiy Nikitin 6-3, 6-3.
Arizona got off to a strong start in doubles play on Friday, with Urquidi and Dunn securing a solid 8-1 victory over Tendai Tapfuma and Vasil Surduk of Seminole State College.
“We did a great job that first day,” Berkowitz said. “I felt that we really showed some authority as far as our doubles.”
In singles, Urquidi lost his first match to UNLV’s Tamas Batyi, 6-4, 6-2, but came back with a victory against Grand Canyon’s Felix Schueller, 6-2, 6-2.
“Mario had a tough first match, and then I thought he turned it around an hour later and kind of figured things out for his second match,” Berkowitz said. “I think he relaxed a little bit, which allowed him to get more pump on his shot.”
Dunn took down Northern Arizona University’s Trevor Unger in three sets in his first match on Friday, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Willie Sublette of UNLV later defeated Dunn, 6-4, 7-5.
Berkowitz said he believes the tournament shows that the team’s conditioning in practice has paid off.
“I think our fitness is great right now,” Berkowitz said. “Our guys are really fit. In a tourney like this you play a lot of matches consecutively.”
He added that he admired Urquidi’s and Dunn’s competitive attitudes.
“Each match, win or lose, they do whatever it takes to try to win. I’m impressed this fall, the whole semester, with these guys,” Berkowitz said.
—Follow Brittney Smith @BrittSmith14