SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After a doubleheader sweep of UC Santa Cruz and Sonoma State two weeks ago, the No. 74 Santa Clara men's tennis team will resume play on the Mission Campus in a matchup with Fresno State this weekend. The Broncos will host the Bulldogs on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 11am.
Santa Clara's overall record is 4-1. The Broncos are 3-0 on their home courts, 0-1 on the road, and 1-0 in neutral contests.
Santa Clara's biggest win of the season came against No. 64 Georgia State in the ITA Kick-Off Consolation, with the Broncos triumphing 4-0. Santa Clara also picked up a 4-3 victory over UC Davis in the 2014 season opener. The team's lone defeat came at the hands of a tough opponent, No. 4 USC, in Los Angeles.
In its lone doubleheader of the campaign on Feb. 1, Santa Clara faced UC Santa Cruz in the morning match, beating the Banana Slugs 4-0. The Broncos won the first doubles contest with a 6-3 final from Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Jesse Ross at No. 3. The freshman duo picked up their second win of the season, evening their record at 2-2. John Lamble and Ilya Osintsev went to a tiebreaker and dominated, winning every point.
In singles, Lamble recorded a 6-1, 6-3 win in the top position. Ashot Khacharyan romped to a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 3. Sam Bertram was a 6-1, 6-2 winner in the sixth spot which moved his record to 5-1. The Aussie has had an excellent start to his Bronco career after transferring from Fresno City College after two seasons.
With one win captured, the Broncos went up against Sonoma State in the afternoon. Santa Clara picked up a clean sweep in doubles to start off. Lamble and Osinstev dominated 6-0 at No. 1, upping their record to 4-1 including three straight wins. Bertram and Khacharyan picked up a 6-0 victory as well, which improved their record to 5-2.
Lamble led the Santa Clara singles charge, defeating his opponent 6-3, 6-1 for his fourth overall win of the day. The senior from Saratoga, Calif. is 11-3 in singles overall and has won seven of his last eight matches. Khacharyan dominated in the third singles spot 6-2, 6-0 again, boosting his mark to 5-2. Khmiadashvili won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 for his first NCAA singles victory.
Fresno State is 2-4 overall and 0-3 on the road. Its victories came over Idaho (6-1) and Cal Poly (4-3). Two of the Bulldogs' losses were against No. 51 Oregon, once by a 6-1 final and once by a 7-0 final. Fresno State also fell 4-3 at St. Mary's and against No. 53 San Diego State, 4-3.
In its last match versus No. 53 San Diego State, the Bulldogs were squeezed out in a 4-3 nail-biter. Fresno State took the first two points of the dual which started with singles play, but the Aztecs rallied to send the match into doubles, tied at 3-3. The teams split the first two doubles matches, and San Diego State won the third doubles position to clinch the match.
The Bulldog roster is a young one, with four freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior. Sam McNeil leads Fresno State at No. 1 singles, and the senior is 3-3 on the 2014 dual match season. Sai Kartik Nakireddi, a junior from India, holds down the second singles spot, and also has a 3-3 record in dual matches. Nikolas Papic has the team's best dual match record at 3-2, between the fourth and fifth singles position primarily.
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 Sunday's match as the Broncos look to continue their strong start to the 2014 campaign. Stay up to date with Santa Clara men's tennis on Facebook and Twitter @SCUmtennis. Go Broncos!