Men’s tennis defeats Cal Poly 4-1

by Aaron Asmus

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The Hornets’ number three doubles pairing of junior Niranjan Ram and freshman Kasparas Zemaitelis scored three match points Sunday, defeating Cal Poly by a final of 4-1.

Ram and Zemaitelis won their doubles set, rallying from behind 3-5 to win 7-6, and each won their singles matches in straight sets.

As the number five player for the Hornets, Zemaitelis was able to secure his first singles victory as a collegiate athlete by beating Naveen Beasley 6-1, 6-4. Coach Vyacheslav “Slava” Konikov said Zemaitelis’s play was one of the stand-out moments in the match.

“I’m very excited about our number five, Kasparas,” Konikov said. “He puts big pressure on himself to produce for the team, but I told him don’t worry about the results and just play.”

Kasparas was excited that he was able to play well and help the team the best he could. He relied on a strong serve and volley to get his first singles win of the year.

“It was much easier than the first few games to get going,” Kasparas said.

Ram continued his strong and steady play from a season ago and made quick work of Garrett Auproux, winning his sets 6-2, 6-3 as the number two for the Hornets. On several different occasions, Ram was able to place the ball where he wanted and force Auproux into making bad shots.

“Niranjan didn’t beat himself and played excellent,” said Assistant Coach Kevin Kurtz.

Kurtz and Konikov were pleased with the teamwork they saw on the court, calling it some of the best teamwork they’ve seen in years.

Marek Marksoo, co-captain with senior Tom Miller, is getting back to form from his injuries a year ago as he also secured his first singles win of the year, winning 6-4, 7-6. Marksoo had as good an excuse as anyone not to perform well, as he had arrived late in Sacramento after travelling on an airplane, but didn’t let that affect his on-court performance.

Marksoo and junior Sean Kolar started strong in their doubles match as the number one doubles team for the Hornets, but were not able to hold off a late run against Auproux and Corey Pang. Kolar and Marksoo held leads at 2-1, 3-2, 5-4 and 6-5, but eventually lost 7-6 in a tiebreak set.

Kolar’s singles match was a tale of two halves.

In the first half he was dominant and won 10 of the first 11 games, sweeping the first set 6-0 and leading 4-1 in the second set.

The second half of the match versus Ben Donovan was a completely different Kolar, as he could not gain any of the early momentum back and lost eight games in a row before the match came to a close at 0-3 in the third set.

Miller and senior Roy Brandys won their doubles match in convincing fashion, 6-2. Miller lost his singles match 7-5, 6-3. Brandys’s match went unfinished, but he lost the first set 6-2 and was down 5-2 in the second.

The Hornets moved to 2-1 on the year and will take on rival UC Davis at noon Saturday, Feb. 14 in Davis.

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