Tennis has historic season

SWING FOR SUCCESS – Junior Alberto Esteban completes his swing during the 2014 fall season. Esteban reached the Division III championship finals in the 2015 Southern Intercollegiate Championships. Photo by: Rob Schabert

The Tennessee Tech tennis team has had a successful fall season. With only one tournament left, Coach Kenneth Doyle said he is pleased with the team’s play this season.

“We have had a great fall,” said Doyle, “possibly one of the best in TTU history.”

The season started at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships Sept. 11 through 13. Alberto Esteban had four victories, which advanced him to the Division III singles draw championship. The team as a whole had seven victories.

Esteban is glad he had better luck at this tournament compared to previous years.

“I felt very proud of the guys and of myself. I never did very well in the past in this tournament at UGA, but this year was different,” said Esteban. “I kept winning until I reached the final, where I faced a really strong player from Georgia State. It was a good beginning of the season, but I hope it gets better, not only for me but for the whole team.”

Sept. 25 through 27 took the team to the Purdue Invitational. Freshman Nicolas Guillermo won the Flight D singles championship. He won all four matches leading to the title, which featured a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Mason Dragos of Butler. Every Tech athlete had at least one win at the tournament.                        

This is Guillermo’s first year at Tennessee Tech and in America. Despite the difficulties of relocation, he has found success.

“It was a really good feeling,” said Guillermo. “It is hard to play in a different country and in a new university, so it was really motivating for me to win this tournament.”

The next stop on their schedule was the 2015 Steve Baras Fall Classic Oct. 2 and 3 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Playing as singles, Alvaro Cintas and Jorge Alfonzo both claimed first-round wins, ending the tournament with 1-1 records. In doubles, Ivar “Junior” Guerrero and Yusuke Yodono’s only win was against an Eastern Kentucky duo.

Oct. 3 and 4 came with the chance to compete against some of the best players in the nation at the ITA All-American Pre-Qualifying event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Esteban, Eduardo Mena and Alex Arovin represented Tech. Esteban made it to the Round of 128 before being eliminated by Jefta Kecic of Western Michigan. Mena also had wins at the pre-qualifying event with straight set victories over Jeff Clark of Texas A&M and Matt Cowley of Utah. Arovin lost his first match but found success in the consolation round, defeating Samuel Giammalva of Texas A&M in straight sets.

The USTA/ITA Regional Championships were held Oct. 15 though 18 in Knoxville. Mena was successful at the tournament, going farther than any Tech player before him. He had six straight wins and made it to the final round of the tournament before falling 6-2, 6-1 to Sam Monette of Indiana in the finals. Esteban and Arovin each went 1-1. Alfonzo lost his opening match but went on to win two matches in the consolation bracket. Arovin and Esteban also racked up some wins in doubles action where they went 2-1.

The North Carolina State Invitational was held Oct. 23 through 25. Tech racked up six wins and was led by Carlos Tajes. He went 2-1 in the grey singles draw. Alfonzo and Guillermo each went 1-2 in the red singles draw. Both doubles teams went 1-1 in match play.

The next match, and last event of the team’s fall season, will be Nov. 6 though 8 at the Wake Forest Fall Invitational in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.