Gauchos Advance to Championship at Oracle Masters, Battle of the Bay

Anders Holm (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Anders Holm (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Competitive play continues to be the story for members of the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team in its opening weekend of tournament play as it advanced to finals at both the 2017 Oracle ITA Masters and the 2017 Battle of the Bay Classic.

Simon Freund, the lone competitor for the Gauchos at the Oracle Masters, followed up his first round consolation bracket win with two more commanding victories Saturday, both in straight sets, to advance to the finals.

"It was as well as I have ever seen him play and his serve which we hoped he improved was terrific," said Head Coach Marty Davis. "He played great tennis and it was enjoyable to watch."

Freund began the day against Abilene Christian's Josh Sheehy and was able to win in convincing fashion with doubling up on Sheehy in both sets, 6-3. The senior won 77 percent (27/35) of his first serve points and 75 percent (9/12) of his second serve points.

Even more impressive was that Sheehy was held to only one break point attempt throughout both sets, a break point which he failed to capitalize on. Freund won three of his seven break point attempts.

After defeating Sheehy, the Sweeden native turned his attention to New Mexico State's Christofer Goncalves.

Freund made quick work of Goncalves in the quarterfinal with a decisive 6-0, 6-1 straight-set victory sending the Gaucho to face-off against Appalachian State's Scott Webster in Sunday's consolation finals match.

"The style of play [Goncalves] uses is going to be an awkward match-up for Simon and is going to be a challenge for him," Davis said. "But I am very optimistic he is going to continue playing better and I am really hoping he could win tomorrow."

At the Battle of the Bay, juniors Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm continued to look unstoppable in doubles play with an impressive 8-3 victory against a fourth-seeded USC pair comprised of 82nd ranked Jack Jaede and Laurens Verboven.

With the win, Moreno de Alboran and Holm's advance to Sunday's championship match against Pacific's duo, Akram El Sallaly and Bernardo Oliveira.

 "We had wondered if that was a doubles team we should stick with and they are definitely making a strong case they should stick together," Davis said. "If they could win a title in the first tournament of the year that is very impressive."

In singles play, the juniors were unable to advance to the final day of competition as Holm was stymied in his round of 16 match against TCU's Alastair Gray while Moreno de Alboran was knocked out in the quartefinals.

Holm, ranked 124th, had a very tough match-up against Gray who held the seventh seed in singles, however even then the junior pushed hard in the first set nearly forcing the tiebreaker before falling 7-5 while in the second set he was swept 6-0.

Moreno de Alboran won his first match of the day against University of San Francisco's Johan Joenhagen but it did not come easy.

The junior took the first set 6-4, however, he dropped the second 2-6 forcing him into his first three-set match of the tournament. Despite the push, Moreno de Alboran was able to take the final set with ease earning a 6-1 victory and sending him to the quarterfinals to face fourth-seeded, and 32nd ranked, Nathan Ponwith from the University of Georgia.

After winning the first set decisively, 6-2, Moreno de Alboran hit a wall dropping the final two sets of the match 3-6. 3-6 ending his singles run.

Freund will conclude play at the Oracle Masters with the Consolation Final on Sunday, September 24 at 10 a.m.

Moreno de Alboran and Holm conclude their play in the Battle in the Bay tournament with doubles final on Sunday, September 24 at 9 a.m.