SDSU men’s tennis doubles up on practice

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SDSU men’s tennis doubles up on practice

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by Mayer Pohlod, Staff Writer

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Following a strong start to the season, San Diego State men’s tennis is about to embark on a long break before their next tournament.

Though the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships, which start on Oct. 28 at UCLA, is the next tournament on paper,  the Aztecs are most likely not going to be sending anybody there for competition. This break is for a “team practice segment,” head coach Gene Carswell said.

The break will come at a very opportune time for SDSU. After having competed in tournaments three out of four weeks since the Wildcat Invitational tournament on Sept. 25, the reprieve of competitive play for more than half a month gives the team a chance to refresh and get back to practicing.

Included in the team practice segment plans are polishing up the doubles teams, because the majority of the fall has been focused on singles so far.

SDSU doesn’t want to go into the second half of the season completely cold and unready for continuous doubles play.

However, this doesn’t mean the Aztecs have necessarily had a bad showing in the doubles portion so far.

During the USTA/ITA Regional Championships from Oct. 16-17, juniors Milen Ianakiev and Marko Goles-Babic, hailing from Germany and Croatia respectively, topped 47th-ranked freshman Jack Jaede and senior Max de Vroome of USC in the round of 16, 8-7(8).

The other doubles team, junior Hendrik Jebens and senior Freddy Gelbrich, made it to the round of 16, as well.

Gelbrich is currently ranked No. 77 nationally, while Jebens is 35 spots lower at No. 112.

As for what to work on for the singles side, Carswell described the transition aspect during live play as something of note.

The transition between playing back at the baseline and coming up to the net to put away volleys is a tricky change.

But it’s a strategy and playing style that can make for easy points  and surprise opponents.

The Aztecs have had a strong showing in singles, despite their struggles in transition.  Even stronger than that of the doubles so far.

During the Regional Championships, Gelbrich made it to the round of 32 before he was ousted by senior Felix Schueller of Grand Canyon University. Not to be outdone, Ianakiev and Jebens each reached the round of 16.

Most notably, Ianakiev made it there by out-dueling sophomore No. 122 Ben Donovan of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“We put up some good results. There were definitely some positives to build on as we move forward,” Carswell said. “We’re poised to continue our success in the future.”

Carswell also said whatever the team is working on doesn’t always apply to the individual player.

Every tennis player is going to be working on whatever they need most because no one player is going to ever be in the same position and skill level as another.

Because they’re skipping the Intercollegiate Championships, the next possible tournament for the Aztecs is the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which starts starts Nov. 12  in Queens, New York.

Even farther away than that, the National Collegiate Tennis Classic starts on Jan. 15 in Palm Desert.

After that, the Aztecs start to take on individual teams in and out of the Mountain West.

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