The Texas men’s tennis team started off the first weekend of fall play with quick results as junior Yuya Ito and senior Leonardo Telles both won first place in their respective invitationals.
“It was a busy weekend, but I was really happy with it,” head coach Michael Center said. “I thought for our first time out, we got a lot of great matches. It seemed like we competed really well, we won a lot of matches and we lost some tough matches.”
Center had a lot of positive thoughts on the way Telles and Ito performed this weekend, along with junior Christian Sigsgaard, who lost in the semifinals of the Oracle ITA Masters single competition. Center praised the men for their hard play and even mentioned how the players not only impressed him, but other coaches around the country.
Ito, a preseason top 30 player in the ITA rankings, came into the mixed doubles tournament in Malibu with partner Lisa Marie Rioux of Oklahoma State as the No. 1 seed. The seeding proved to be very deserving as the pair steamrolled their competition into the finals and ultimately defeated Baylor’s Sven Lah and Washington State’s Michaela Bayerlova by a score of 8-3.
“Overall, we played well, and we were very happy we were able to win one of the only mixed doubles tournaments in college,” Ito said. “To start the season with the first tournament, and almost everybody on the team played for the first time this year during the weekend, it’s great to have a good start.”
Telles, meanwhile, competed in the Cajun Classic in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he took home first place in the singles competition. After losing in the finals last year, Telles, ranked 62nd in the ITA preseason rankings, reached the finals and won in two sets (6-4, 6-4) against Oklahoma State’s Mathieu Scagalia.
“It’s very gratifying,” Telles said. “I went with the goal of winning the tournament, and I didn’t know how it was going to play out because I knew there were many great players there, and there are always great teams that go to play in that tournament. It’s just very gratifying to go there and come back with the title.”
This upcoming weekend, the majority of the team will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the ITA All-American Championships, where the competition will be loaded with top players from all across the country.
“It’s obviously a national event with the best players in the country, so I’m curious to see us play again,” Center said. “We’re excited to play, and I think we got off to a good start this last weekend.”