Gauchos Fall Short in Upset Bid, Drop 4-3 Decision to #36 SDSU

Sasha Gryaznov (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB men's tennis dropped a hard-fought 4-3 decision to #36 San Diego State (10-4) in a marathon match that went on for almost five hours. With the score tied at 3-3, the match came down to court 5, where Sasha Gryaznov lost in three sets to SDSU's Juan Florez, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The Gauchos and Aztecs back and forth battle began in doubles play, with the doubles point coming down to the last match at court 2, where Axel Bouillin and Benjamin Recknagel were locked in close match with SDSU's Siddiqui and Khachatryan. UCSB's pair saved two match points at 6-7 and was up 4-1 in the tiebreaker before SDSU closed the gap to 5-4. SDSU ended up winning the tie-breaker (7-5) and clinched the doubles point to lead the match 1-0.

UCSB received a win at the No. 1 position with Mbonisi Ndimande and Ziad Sultan's victory over Nicholas and Bertsch, 8-5 and lost at court 3, where Riminton and Seemann dropped their decision 8-2.

The Gauchos were able to split the singles matches, winning at courts 3, 6, and 4. At the No. 3 position, Benjamin Recknagel got UCSB on the board with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nicholas. Andrew Riminton and Ziad Sultan added two more victories from courts 6 and 4, respectively, to give the Gauchos a 3-2 lead after a loss at court 2 by Axel Bouillin. Riminton recorded a win in straight sets to beat the Aztec's Khachatryan 6-3, 6-3 and Sultan won in three against Tawasi, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1.

Coach Marty Davis said he was "real pleased with Riminton's win" and added that Recknagel and Sultan "played very well."

The Gauchos battled hard in the remaining two matches at courts 1 and 5. At court 1, senior Mbonisi Ndimande lost the first set 3-6 against No. 71-ranked Derek Siddiqui but came back to win the second set 6-4. Ndimande hung tough with the nationally ranked player but ultimately lost 3-6 in the third set.

Coach Marty Davis said of SDSU's Siddiqui, "He's a tough player [who has] super good ball control…so it was a difficult match. Bo attempted to overpower him and obviously did for one set but couldn't for two sets."

At court 5, the game came down to the match between Sasha Gryaznov and Aztec's Juan Florez. Gryaznov started off the match with a 6-4 first set win but dropped the next set 4-6. Gryaznov was up 2-1 in the third set but Florez battled to win five straight games, sealing the 4-3 win for SDSU.

After the game, Coach Marty Davis said the match was "a painful one to lose" but "overall, this might be the best tennis we've played this season."

The Gauchos hope to carry their solid play into Monday's match when they take on visiting Utah at the Rec Cen Courts. Action is set to begin at 1:30 PM (PST).

DOUBLES

1. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB) def. Nicholas/Bertsch (SDSU) 8-5
2. Siddiqui/Khachatryan (SDSU) def. Bouillin/Recknagel (UCSB) 9-8 (5)
3. Florez/Tawasi (SDSU) def. Seemann/Riminton (UCSB) 8-2

SINGLES

1. #71 Derek Siddiqui (SDSU) def. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
2. Thorsten Bertsch (SDSU) def. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) 6-3, 6-3
3. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) def. Hunter Nicholas (SDSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Marvin Tawasi (SDSU) 6-3, 6-7, 6-1
5. Juan Florez (SDSU) def. Sasha Gryaznov (UCSB) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Andrew Riminton (UCSB) def. Andranik Khachatryan (SDSU) 6-3, 6-3

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 6, 4, 1, 5
UCSB SEASON RECORD: 4-5; Big West 0-0

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