SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a stellar performance against No. 64 Georgia State, the No. 71 Bronco men's tennis team will resume matches on the Mission Campus in a doubleheader this weekend. In the ITA Kick-Off hosted by USC, Santa Clara was topped by the No. 4 Trojans before rebounding strongly with a 4-0 win over the 64th-ranked Panthers.
"I really liked the way we competed when we had our backs against the wall to start the match in doubles," said Bronco Head Coach Derek Mills after the team's weekend win. "We maintained our composure and played with incredible energy and found a way to come back from deficits in doubles. Then we used that momentum from doubles and finished the match off in singles."
The Broncos host their only doubleheader of the season on Sat., Feb. 1 when they face UC Santa Cruz at 10am and Sonoma State at 2:30pm. Santa Clara will play all five of its February matches at home.
After the team's victory last weekend, its 2014 record is 2-1. Santa Clara also defeated UC Davis in its first match of the season by a final score of 4-3.
Santa Clara used two key doubles wins and three solid singles wins to defeat the Panthers on Sunday. John Lamble and Ilya Osintsev came through in a tiebreaker, winning No. 1 doubles 6-5. Lamble and Osintsev are 2-1 including fall play. Sam Bertram and Ashot Khacharyan went to a tiebreaker as well, squeezing out a 9-7 win at No. 2 which improved their record to 4-1. Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Jesse Ross came up just short in a tiebreaker of their own.
The Broncos' top three players all won in straight sets to put the match away. Lamble dispatched his opponent 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 1 position, giving him a 9-3 record with wins in five of his last six matches. On Monday, Lamble was named one of six preseason All-WCC selections.
Osintsev matched Lamble, losing only three games in a 6-2, 6-1 final at No. 2. Osintsev's record is 6-2 and he has won three of his past four contests. Khacharyan finished off the match with a 6-4, 6-0 win in the third spot, boosting his record to 3-2.
UC Santa Cruz
UC Santa Cruz was ranked No. 10 in Division III and went 11-8 overall in 2013, including a win over No. 4 Cal Lutheran on Senior Day. The team is 1-0 in 2014 after winning their season-opener over Fresno City College. The Slugs dropped two out of three doubles matches, worth one point each, but won four of six singles matches for the 5-4 victory.
Against Fresno City, Elias Scandalis played No. 1 singles for UC Santa Cruz and defeated Matt Alves 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Max Littlejohn was a straight set winner over Jakov Tshkirkin by a 6-3, 6-2 final in the second spot. Garrett Deguchi defeated Adrien Varenne 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5, and Jimmy Soper beat Alex Bessinger 6-3, 7-5 in the sixth position.
Sonoma State posted a 3-18 record in 2013, with wins over Arizona Christian, Metro State, and Colorado State Pueblo. Sonoma State played an exhibition against St. Mary's but has no official matches in 2014. In the match against St. Mary's, the Seawolves fell 6-1.
The Broncos welcomed four new players: Bertram, Khmiadashvilli, Ross and Michael Tjuatjadarma. Bertram joined the Broncos after playing his first two seasons at Fresno City College. At Fresno City, Bertram won the state title in singles and was the runner-up in doubles. This fall, Bertram reached the quarterfinals of the Aggie Invitational by knocking off Ayman Abdulwahab of Sacramento State 6-4, 6-3. In doubles, he was a semifinalist at the UC Davis Invitational while paired with Khacharyan. He also advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA Northwest Regional with Lamble.
Khmiadashvilli is from Tbilisi, Georgia and is also a freshman. In high school, he attended Saint Dimitry Kipiani School. Khmiadashvilli competed for the Georgian Davis Cup team in Bulgaria in 2012 and reached an ITF ranking of 224. He also achieved a U-16 ranking in Europe of No. 6, and was ranked fourth in singles in Georgia, and second in doubles, according to the ATP rankings.
Ross is from Ventura, Calif. and made his freshman debut with the Broncos against UC Davis. He attended Laurel Springs High School in Ojai, Calif. Ross was the No. 9 singles player in Southern California. The 4 star recruit was also ranked No. 85 nationally by tennisrecruiting.net.
Tjuatjadarma joins the Broncos' squad after two years at nearby DeAnza College. He was a quarterfinalist in the state championship while playing at DeAnza. Tjuatjadarma attended Jubilee High School in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2009, the SCU Finance major won the Fergana Cup in Uzbekistan, was a singles runner-up at the 39th Brunei ITF Circuit, and was a doubles semifinalist at the Malaysia ITF World Junior Tennis Championship.
The Santa Clara men's tennis team is also excited to have a new addition to its coaching staff. After coaching at WCC-rival Loyola Marymount for four seasons, Aaron Paajanen is the new assistant coach for Bronco head coach Derek Mills. Along with assistant coach Rudy Siwy, Paajanen will be helping with all aspects of the program. Read more about Paajanen here.
The Bronco men's tennis program has five international players from four countries and an international coach as well … the SCU roster features three players from the United States, two players from Russia, one player from Georgia, one player from Australia and one player from Indonesia … the coaching staff also includes assistant coach Siwy, a Czech native.
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Be sure to check back on SantaClaraBroncos.com for more on this weekend's doubleheader as the Broncos look to continue their strong start to the 2014 campaign. Stay up to date with all Santa Clara men's tennis on Facebook and Twitter page @SCUmtennis. Go Broncos!