The UC Riverside men’s tennis team continued the fall portion of the schedule this past weekend at the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championship Oct. 19-23 at Anteater Tennis Stadium. Schools from across the southwest competed in the tournament, which was hosted by fellow Big West school UC Irvine.

The men’s tennis squad opened the ITA Southwest Regional Championship Friday Oct. 19 with action in singles and doubles competition. Highlander Jimmy Roberts got things going in the first round of singles when he faced off against Rainbow Wahine’s Chris Meyers. Roberts fought hard in his first match and defeated his Hawai’i opponent 6-3, 6-2 and advanced to the second round. Jimmy Roberts continued play in the second round against UCLA’s Marcos Giron but did not play as well in the second round, losing to his Bruin opponent 6-2, 6-1.

Roberts for Riverside paired up with teammate Luis Gastao for the lone doubles match of the day against Arizona’s duo of Sumeet Shinde and Kieren Thompson. Riverside’s duo dropped the match to the Wildcat’s duo 8-1 and looked to have a better performance the next day.

Julian Ruffin played in the final singles event for the Highlanders on Friday, when he went against UC Santa Barbara’s Ziad Sultan and Gastao faced Yannick Hanfmann from USC. Ruffin went on to lose the match 6-3,6-2 and Gastao fell to his opponent 6-0, 6-1 to wrap up the first day of play.

The second day continued with double action with Ruffin and Calvin Ngo. Singles competition continued with the consolation singles with Ruffin and Gastao.

The Highlander duo of Julian Ruffin and Calvin Ngo played the only doubles match Saturday as they faced the contest of UCLA’s Warren Hardie and Dennis Mkrtchian. Riverside fell to the Bruin’s duo 8-2 and would end their action of play in the tournament.

The singles faired better for the Highlanders than the doubles. Ruffin won his consolation match 7-5, 6-1 against Matt Thompson from Cal Poly. Highlander Luis Gastao competed in the singles on Saturday, however, he fell 6-1, 6-0 to Marco Comuzzo from Cal Poly. Ruffin advanced after he won in the consolation round, but bad weather forced him to play the following day.

Ruffin continued the singles consolation round of 16 Sunday Oct. 21 against UC Irvine’s Tyler Pham. Ruffin dropped the first set 6-4, won the second set 6-2 but fell 10-4 in the tiebreaker.

“The team did very well considering this was the toughest Regional in the country,” Head Coach Tim Downey stated.  “It was a great effort from the guys and we know what we need to do to prepare for the upcoming dual team season.”

Jimmy Roberts has gone 4-2 this year in singles play, while Julian Ruffin’s record is 3-2. The doubles for Riverside has not fared well in the fall portion of their season. This tournament puts the duo of Roberts and Gastao record at 0-2 and Ruffin and Calvin’s record at 0-2 as well. The tennis season has just begun and the men’s team look to use the experience from the past tournaments when they continue play at the Socal Intercollegiate Championship next month on Nov. 7.