Tensions in tennis

Alec Cipollini

In the first home match in over a month, Weber State University’s men’s tennis team returned to the Ogden Athletic Club and won 4–3 against the University of Idaho on March 19.

Sebastian Buxman levels his racket and eyes the tennis ball and his opponent's movement. (Summer Muster/The Signpost)
Sebastian Buxman levels his racket and eyes the tennis ball and his opponent's movement. Photo credit: Summer Muster

After losing 4–0 to the University of Utah on Feb. 26 and 4–2 to the University of California, Irvine, on March 8, the Wildcats picked up a nail-biting 4–3 win over Azusa Pacific University on March 9.

Idaho traveled to Ogden 4–9 overall and on a four-match losing streak, most recently losing 4–2 to Brigham Young University on March 16.

In the doubles matches, the Wildcats dominated.

The No. 1 doubles pair, WSU freshmen Elyes Marouani and Tristan Sarap, fought a back-and-fourth match against Vandals Francisco Bascon and Bruno Casino as they came back from being behind 5–3 to win 6–4.

Weber State eventually claimed another doubles point as freshman Sebastian Buxman and sophomore Jordan Coutinho pieced up a performance to secure a 6–3 victory against Idaho’s Matteo Masala and Alex Asenov.

Sebastian Buxman lunges to keep an Idaho player from landing the ball on Weber's side of the court. (Summer Muster/The Signpost)
Sebastian Buxman lunges to keep an Idaho player from landing the ball on Weber's side of the court. Photo credit: Summer Muster

“We played really good doubles today against a surprisingly tough team in Idaho,” WSU head coach Brad Ferreira said. “This is one of those where we had to win since they are a little lower down the standings. We have to beat up on the teams below us to put us back on track for the conference.”

Singles matches would soon follow as Buxman faced off with Vandal Francisco Gay as the two top players on both teams and things got heated quickly.

In the first set, Buxman seemed to hit the ball onto the baseline, but Gay argued to the referee three times that the ball was out of bounds.

The referee agreed with Gay, and Buxman was shouting in frustration as the WSU player from South Africa couldn’t believe what he had witnessed.

Buxman would win 7–5 in the first set as Buxman pointed his finger and yelled as Gay smirked back before they started the next set.

This ignited anger in Buxman, but that anger was let out on the court as they kept competing.

Gay won the second set 2–6, and Buxman won the third set with a near perfect 6–1.

“It was frustrating,” Buxman said. “You come into the match when it’s already close, and especially with deuce points, the decisions called can be make-or-break for the game. It is definitely hard to bounce back from those, but I am glad I hung in there and won.”

Bascon beat Sarap 6–4, 6–1; Masala defeated WSU junior Bo-Han Li 3–6, 6–3 and 6–4; Idaho’s Mario Duron Garza won both sets against Weber State junior Matteo Savio 6–4 and Coutinho picked up a 6–3, 2–6 and 6–3 victory over Idaho’s Vivek Ramesh.

The win by Coutinho tied the match 3–3 before a tie-breaking game between Marouani and Casino ensued.

Marouani would win the first set 7–5 before Casino came back by earning a 6–3 set victory of his own to tie the game at 1–1.

With the rest of his team cheering him on and Ferreira giving him instructions, Marounai would put together a 6–2 set victory, and Weber State won 4–3 over the Vandals.

“To see the team celebrating after I won us the match, it made me happy,” Marouani said. “That’s a good win since everyone is fighting now as we were a little bit lost at the beginning of the season. Now our goal is to win the rest of our matches and the conference, but it won’t be easy.”

WSU is now 6–10 overall and 2–1 in the Big Sky.

Weber State will make the journey up to Missoula, Montana, where they will clash with University of Montana on March 26 at noon.

The Wildcats’ women’s tennis team won 6–1 against Eastern Washington University on March 20 at the Ogden Athletic Club.