Men’s tennis racks up 29 wins at Samford Round Robin


CW / Hannah Saad

The Alabama men’s tennis team earned 29 wins over three days of play in Birmingham, Alabama, at the Samford Round Robin, going 11-1 in doubles matches and 18-7 in singles play.

Round one and two of singles play were held on Friday along with the first round of doubles play. The second round of doubles and the third of singles were on Saturday and the tournament finished up on Sunday with the third and fourth rounds of doubles and the final round of singles play.

Senior Alexey Nesterov improved to 10-0 this season in doubles play, picking up six wins this past weekend. He and his partner, junior Sam Fischer, did not drop a set over their four doubles matches together.

Fischer won all four matches in both singles and doubles play in his first tournament of the year.

Freshman Marcelo Sepulveda Garza had a perfect record at the Round Robin at 4-0 in both singles and doubles action as well. It is only the second tournament of Sepulveda Garza’s Alabama career.

He and his doubles partner, junior Jeremy Gschwendtner, joined Nesterov and Fischer in winning all four doubles matches without dropping a set.

Singles play for Sepulveda Garza kicked off Friday with two wins over Louis Delcour (USA), 6-0, 2-0, and Brad Buckland (MTSU), 7-6(4), 6-1. Wins over Mason Meier (Tennessee), 6-1, 6-4, and Pet’ko (USA), 6-1, 6-1, on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to closed his tournament performance.

Alabama won 14 out of 15 matches on Friday of the Round Robin. In the rest of those matches, junior Riccardo Roberto and freshman Avi Shugar completed the first-day sweep in doubles action for Alabama.

In singles play, Nesterov, Gschwendtner and Shugar each picked up two wins while Roberto split his Friday singles matches.

On Saturday, Roberto and Shugar dropped the first doubles match for Alabama in the tournament, falling 6-1. In the rest of singles play on Saturday, Alabama went 3-3 with Nesterov as the other Crimson Tide player earning a win. Gschwendtner and Shugar both fell to Troy players and Roberto also lost a close match.

The fourth and final round of singles play finished on Sunday with Alabama going 4-2.  Roberto and Gschwendtner both bounced back from Saturday with wins. Shugar dropped his second consecutive singles match and Nesterov dropped his first singles match of the tournament on Sunday.

The third and fourth rounds of doubles play finished up on Sunday as well. Roberto and Shugar completed the 11-1 doubles record for Alabama in the tournament with two 6-3 wins.

Senior Edson Ortiz and junior Patrick Kaukovalta, who didn’t participate in the Samford Round Robin, will head to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to play in the ITA All-American Championships in the next action for the Alabama men’s tennis team. Ortiz, ranked No. 42 nationally, is in the main singles draw and Kaukovalta is in the qualifying draw. Both draws are scheduled to start on Monday and the two could advance and play up until Sunday.