Lobos Paving Their Way Through ITA Regionals Championships

Oct. 19, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NEV.— The Lobos pave their way through the tournament as the third day of the ITA Regionals draws to a close. Leading the way for UNM in singles are sophomores Samir Iftikhar and James Hignett, and freshman Riaan Du Toit. Leading the way for UNM in doubles are the senior duo of Jadon Phillips with Conor Berg and the freshman, sophomore duo of Du Toit with Hignett.  

The number nine seed of the tournament, Iftikhar, proved that being the number eight seed does not necessarily guarantee one a win as he took down his opponent Victor Ouvrard from the University of Nevada-Reno in two straight sets. Iftikhar only dropped a total of four games in both sets to win the match 6-1, 6-3.

With that win, Iftikhar faced his next opponent from the University of Denver, Alex Clinkenbeard. This match proved to be no tough challenge for the Lobo as he took the match 6-1, 6-2. Iftikhar will go up against the odds facing the number five seed Andy Bettles from Boise State in the semifinals of the main draw.

Du Toit had an equally exciting day as well has he defeated both of his opponents in two straight sets. In his first match, he won 6-2, 6-3 against U.S. Air Force Academy’s Andy Jackson in the third round. His fourth round match was against Ben Tasevac from the Univeristy of Utah. This match was a tight one, but the Lobo freshman prevailed winning the match 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals where he will face the second seed Slim Hamza from the University of Utah.

Hignett advanced to the fourth round after his opponent, University of Denver’s Luke Manley, had to withdraw due to an injury. The sophomore, after advancing to the next round, went up against NMSU’s Yannick Blank to see which one was going to advance to the quarterfinals. Hignett lost the first set in a close contest 6-4, but it did not come that close again as he defeated his opponent in three sets with a score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Hignett will face the number 25 seed University of Nevada-Reno’s Moez Charqui in the quarterfinals.

On that note, let’s take a look at what doubles had to offer for the Lobos.

Seniors Berg and Phillips, seeded number 3 in the tournament and ranked number 58 in the nation, dropped only four games against the number nine seed University of Utah’s Dmytro Mamedov and Alejandro Medinella. The senior duo won the match 8-4 and will face the number seven seed from the University of Idaho, Abid Akbar and Marius Cirstea in the quarterfinals of the main draw.

The two consolation singles players representing UNM, also teamed up together in doubles and advanced to the doubles consolation quarterfinals. Du Toit and Hignett managed to come out on top in a match that seemed to be equal throughout its entirety as they played against the University of Utah’s Rafael Davidian and Ben Tasevac. The Lobos pulled out the win in a close tiebreak winning the match 9-8 to advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face Utah State’s Zeno Kastelic and Curran Wearmouth.

Singles will start at 9:00 a.m. MT with doubles to follow.

For draw sheets and times, please visit http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=132865

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