SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Riding a six-match winning-streak, the No. 42 Santa Clara men's tennis team heads up to Spokane, Washington for its conference opener against Gonzaga. The Broncos moved up 32 spots this week in the ITA rankings due its recent success. Santa Clara is off to its best start in over a decade. Santa Clara and Gonzaga will square off on Sun., Feb. 2 at noon.
The Broncos stand at 7-1 overall on the season, with their lone loss coming at No. 2 USC. Santa Clara is 6-0 at home, 0-1 on the road, and 1-0 at neutral sites.
Santa Clara has not only been winning its matches, but it has been winning convincingly. The Broncos seek to keep their momentum going as WCC play begins against the Bulldogs.
Last year, Santa Clara beat Gonzaga in both the regular season and in the WCC Tournament. Gonzaga will be seeking retribution on its home court.
Santa Clara will return to the court after back-to-back wins over ranked opponents. On Feb. 20, Santa Clara knocked off No. 57 San Diego State by a score of 6-1. Doubles partners Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Jesse Ross earned a tough win in an 8-6 victory in the No. 3 position. John Lamble and Osintsev won their doubles match in the No. 1 position.
In the No. 3 singles slot, Ashot Khacharyan knocked off the nation's No. 124 singles player, Freddy Gelbrich of SDSU, in straight sets. Lamble, Osintsev, and Khmiadashvili also picked up points in singles for the Broncos.
The Broncos most recently downed No. 69 New Mexico 4-1, for their sixth straight victory. The Broncos' dynamic duo of Lamble and Osintsev continued their fine play with a commanding 8-2 victory over the top doubles team from New Mexico. Bertram and Khacharyan were also victorious in their doubles match. Osintsev, Khacharyan, Khmiadashvili, and Bertram each racked up a point in singles on the day.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs currently stand at 8-3 on their 2014 campaign. They are a strong 7-2 at home on the season. The Zags are coming off two shutout wins against Lewis-Clark State College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Vladimir Mijatovic is the No. 1 singles player for the Bulldogs. He is 12-4 overall on the year and is 9-2 in dual matches.
In the No. 6 position, Pablo Mosquera Perez has been a breakout star for the Zags. He is undefeated in dual matches this season at 8-0. Mosquera Perez led Gonzaga in a 4-3-comeback win over Northern Arizona. After dropping the first set 6-5, he won the next two sets 6-2, 6-4. The Spaniard looks to remain undefeated when the Broncos come to town.
One of the Broncos' top players, Ilya Osintsev, is coming off WCC Player of the Week honors. Osintsev stands at 5-0 during the dual match season and 9-2 overall as the squad's No. 2 singles player. The former WCC Freshman of the Year looks to continue building on his impressive early-season run.
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 Rudy Siwy, a Czech native.
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Be sure to check back on SantaClaraBroncos.com for more on this Thursday and Sunday's matches as the Broncos look to topple several strong squads. Stay up to date with Santa Clara men's tennis on Facebook and Twitter @SCUmtennis. Go Broncos!