Men’s tennis freshman competes in intercollegiate open event despite COVID-19 pandemic

San+Diego+State+men%27s+tennis+freshman+Judson+Blair+swings+at+a+ball+during+the+Oracle+Intercollegiate+Tennis+Association+Masters+On+Oct.+9-11+at+the+Barnes+Tennis+Court+in+San+Diego.

Courtesy of Jacob Dye, Intercollegiate Tennis Association and Getty Images

San Diego State men’s tennis freshman Judson Blair swings at a ball during the Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association Masters On Oct. 9-11 at the Barnes Tennis Court in San Diego.

by Jason Freund, Staff Writer

While the San Diego State men’s tennis season is still up in the air, one player has found a way to continue playing despite the discontinuation of collegiate play.

Freshman Judson Blair, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play for SDSU on Jan. 3, began his first round of tennis at the Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association Masters Friday, dropping his first match yet rebounding to collect victories in his next two contests.

The Oracle ITA Masters was staged at the Barnes Tennis Court in San Diego from Oct. 9-11. The singles-play-only event hosted both men’s and women’s matches.

According to wearecollegetennis.com, the Masters is described as an “open event for college, elite juniors and professional players that have had their fall seasons canceled or severely limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

After defeating San Diego Christian sophomore Chris Papa and UC Davis senior Ivan Thamma, Blair earned his spot alongside 31 other competitors in the Masters.

His first match, however, ended in defeat. Blair was drawn to face the former USC senior and four-time ITA All-American Brandon Holt in the Round of 32.

Despite a strong first set, the SDSU freshman was unable to overcome Holt as he fell 7-5, 6-1 in the first round. Holt went on to win the Masters after defeating Ohio State sophomore Cannon Kinglsey in the finals on Sunday.

In his second match, Blair was slated to face David Fox, who previously played for the University of Denver as recently as 2016. In the Round of 32, Fox lost 6-4, 6-2 to UCLA graduate transfer Sam Feit.

In this match, Blair prevailed over Fox, winning both sets 6-2, 6-2.

Per tournament rules, each player is guaranteed to play three games, meaning Blair faced Stanford senior Timothy Sah in his third match.

Sah, a San Diego native, was set to face the Aztecs when the then-No. 8 Cardinals were scheduled to appear at the Aztec Tennis Center on March 25. This was before the Mountain West Conference canceled spring sports due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12.

Sah took the first set before Blair rallied back to capture the second and defeated Sah by way of a 10-point match tiebreak, officially winning 1-6, 6-2, 10-2 in his final match.

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