Men’s tennis blanks Falcons in 4-0 victory


Photo by Cole Hanson

Freshman Ignacio Martinez readies to hit the ball during the Aztecs 4-0 victory over Air Force at the Aztec Tennis Center on April 8.

by Cole Hanson, Contributor

San Diego State men’s tennis got back on track in convincing fashion, defeating the Air Force Academy by a score of 4-0 at the Aztec Tennis Center on April 8.

The match began in favor of the Aztecs – losers of three straight coming in –  as they won their second straight doubles point at home.

SDSU was unable to capitalize on their early head start in their last match against University of New Mexico two days before, but the team took advantage of the doubles point against Air Force, improving to 4-18 on the season and 2-2 in the Mountain West Conference after sweeping the Falcons 3-0 in singles play.

The Aztecs went undefeated in doubles play, winning both matches by a score of 6-2.

Junior Sander Gjoels-Andersen and sophomore Rafael Gonzalez Almazan started the day off with a 6-2 win over junior Isaac Perez and freshman Patrick Sklenka, before freshman Jan Kirchhoff and junior Raul de la Torre secured the all-important doubles point with a dominating 6-2 victory of their own over juniors Tadhg Collins and Luke Sanderson.

“With good energy we got the doubles point…If you start 1-0, it is a great difference in team energy. Today we figured out doubles again,” Gonzalez Almazan said.

Head coach Gene Carswell said the team used the momentum from winning the doubles point to carry them through the remainder of the match.  

“Air force plays very solid when it comes to their doubles play…and getting out of the gates today, winning the doubles point gave us a lot of momentum going into singles,” Carswell said.

In singles play it was freshman Ignacio Martinez who came out firing for the Aztecs, dominating his singles match (6-2, 6-3) against Sklenka in straight sets at the top of the lineup.

“Winning at the top of the ladder isn’t an easy thing to do, and he had a really good day of competition today. I’m proud of his effort,” Carswell said. “I didn’t think there was a match out there that we wouldn’t have won today.”

Continuing the rout, sophomore Arnaud Restifo notched SDSU’s second singles point of the day in close fashion (7-5, 6-4) over Perez. 

Junior Raul de la Torre would clinch the final match point with a 6-3, 6-3 singles victory over Collins, closing SDSU’s day off with a clean sweep.

Carswell attributed a great week of practice as the key to the day’s win.

“These guys, they’ve been going in a positive direction and they’re seeing that when they are putting in the work and doing the little things well in practice, it’s translating into the matches. We’ve got to keep working towards that,” Carswell said.

SDSU is set to begin a two-game road trip by facing University of Nevada at high elevation on April 13, before closing out the regular season at Fresno State University on April 15.

Gonzalez Almazan said that it will be important for the Aztecs to continue playing well, as to build momentum heading into the Mountain West Tournament starting on April 27.

“The last few matches before the conference tournament, if you get a few wins, other teams will respect you,” Gonzalez Almazan said. “And it’ll give you that confidence for the tournament.”