The UC Irvine Men’s Tennis team (8-6) defeated UC Riverside 7-0 at the Anteater Tennis Stadium on April 3 by sweeping both the doubles and singles matches against the Highlanders.
‘We got the job done,’ Williams said. ‘We played solid.’
In the number two doubles match, seniors Jon Endrikat and Wkwesi Williams finished with an 8-1 win against Highlander junior John Cava and sophomore Jordan Lee.
UCI took control of the match as Endrikat and Williams continually slammed the ball inside UCR’s court. In the match, Endrikat’s powerful return serves proved too quick for UCR which struggled to respond.
In the number three doubles match, the UCI doubles team of freshman Mustafa Ulukan and junior Peter Surapol won their match 8-3 against junior Jeremy Owens and sophomore Caesar Regaliza.
UC Riverside took the lead in the beginning of the set 2-1, but after several shots to the net and return serves that hit out of bounds, UCI was able to gain the lead 6-3 and maintained it for the rest of the set.
In the number one doubles match, UCI juniors Brian Morton and Ryusuke Kashiwabara lost to senior Brent Davis and sophomore Norman Tam 6-8 while Irvine took the early lead in the set 2-1, Morton’s incredible serves as well as his and Kashiwabara’s quick footwork on the court fell short at the end as UCR won. Irvine won two out of three matches in doubles play to gain the doubles point as the singles matches started.
The sixth court was occupied by Williams and Cava. Williams swept his first set 6-0 and continued to dominate in the second set with a 6-1 victory. Williams finished first in the singles and felt he played ‘pretty solid’ in both his doubles and singles matches.
In the number three singles court, Ulukan defeated Leo, 6-3, 6-1. Ulukan played aggressively throughout the two sets. His singles match finished second overall. Surapol, who played in the number four court, ended soon after Ulukan.
Surapol won the number four singles match against Owens 6-1, 6-1. Surapol’s strong and consistent serves helped him win both sets.
The number four court was right next to the number two court where both Morton and Davis were fighting hard to win the number two singles match. Morton took the lead in the first set 4-3. Davis was running all over the court in order to retrieve Morton’s high-speed return serves. Morton was equally effective in returning Davis’ serves, yet without having to show a lot of footwork. Morton came out victorious in both sets 6-4, 6-3.
On court number five was UCI junior Arash Bormand playing against Regaliza. Bormand controlled both his sets from the first set point 1-0. He was quicker in retrieving the ball while Regaliza kept hitting the net. Bormand won both his sets 6-1, 6-1.
The last singles match to end was the number one court made up of Endrikat and Tam. Endrikat’s quick footwork and long serves gave him the early lead of 1-0. Still, Endrikat ran into problems as he hit the ball into the net several times. In the second set, Tam upended Endrikat and won it 6-4. The match went to break point with both players battling it out in the third set.
Endrikat pulled out on top to win the set, 10-7, and clinched himself a victory in the singles match.
‘We played up a good fight,’ Surapol said. ‘We are definitely a stronger team, though short-handed.’
The UCI lineup has lost some key players due to injuries this season. Head Coach Steve Clark said his team ‘played well’ even though they only ‘have about half a team.’
The Anteaters need to work on getting healthy, according to Clark. The conference championships are at the end of the month, which means the team needs to make sure they improve every day. ‘Everyone has to step up for conference,’ Surapol said.
According to Williams, Irvine has ‘to take this mentality in this match and use it in all our other matches.’