Men’s Tennis: Utes Deliver Strong Performance in Home Tournament

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Sophomore Santiago Sierra, above, prepares to return a serve from Northern Arizona University freshman Thomas Fisher during a match at the Eccles Tennis Center on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Kiffer Creveling, Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah tennis, in its lone home tournament of the fall season, turned in an high caliber performance, winning four titles at the Utah Intercollegiate Invitational at the Eccles Tennis Center.

“It is a great opportunity for us to see our players play [and] see how they developed over the summer,” said Utah men’s tennis head coach Roeland Brateanu. “For a lot of the new faces we have, it gave us an opportunity to see what we do well and what we don’t do so well and what we need to improve on.”

Utah senior Parker McGuiness, injured much of the 2016 spring season, won the top singles flight, beating Weber State players Stefan Cooper (6-3, 6-4) and Kris van Wyk (7-6, 6-1) on Sunday to claim the championship. McGuiness did not lose a match during the Invitational, and he went 5-0.

“It was a great experience,” McGuiness said. “I was really happy to be out on the court and healthy again. I had an injury ridden spring season last year, and I was just happy to be healthy again for the first tournament of the fall.”

Brateanu was impressed with McGuiness’s play.

“[McGuiness] did a really great job and we’re excited to have him back, motivated and dedicated to the game, Brateanu said. “He’s kind of found himself and has done a really great job at leading the team and outworking everybody and organizing his life.”

For Utah’s redshirt and true freshmen, this was the first tournament they have played in as a member of the Utah tennis team.

“[The freshmen] were very excited. You could tell with Joe Wooley, who played his first match for us, and Azat [Hankuliyev] and Benjamin Heck, you could tell they were really excited,” Brateanu said. “They were maybe a little bit jittery in their first match, but they were really excited. For Azat and Joe, they’ve been waiting for a year, so they maybe made it a bigger deal than it really was, but it’s great to have them on the court and we’re excited to have them.”

Redshirt freshman Wooley and freshman Slava Shainyan finished tied with Weber State’s Samuel Serrano in the singles “B” flight.

In his final match of the tournament, Wooley defeated Weber State junior Hou-En Chen, 7-6, 6-3, and Shainyan beat Montana junior Yannick Schmidl, 6-3, 6-1 on the final day of competition.

In doubles play, Dan Little and Shainyan won the top flight in Sunday’s action, while McGuiness and Santiago Sierra were champions in the “C” doubles flight, beating Utah State’s Samuel Serrano and Austin Bass.

Up next for the Utes is the F30 Futures in Fountain Valley, California. Shainyan and David Micevski will compete in the tournament, which starts on September 23.

j.coles@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JoeAColes

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