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This Week in WAC Men's Tennis - Feb. 27

This Week in WAC Men's Tennis - Feb. 27
NM State's Mauri Benitez and Grand Canyon's Emilia Occhipinti, and NM State's doubles team Chloe Gavino and Rebecca Keijzerwaard have been named the Men's and Women's Western Athletic Conference Tennis Athletes of the Week, respectively, for Feb. 19-25.
Benitez, a senior from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, finished the weekend 2-0 and left one match unfinished. He earned a win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6-3, 6-3 and UT Rio Grande Valley 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. His first match of the weekend against Troy went unfinished ending 7-6, 6-4, 2-3. As a team, NM State fell to Troy and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but defeated UT Rio Grande Valley 4-3. Benitez has won four of his last six matches and is now 5-3 on the year.
Occhipinti, a junior from Ragusa, Italy, picked up two victories over opponents from Liberty and Sacramento State. She defeated Liberty 7-6, 6-1 and Sacramento State 6-2, 6-2. Grand Canyon lost to Liberty 6-1 but defeated Sacramento State 5-2
Gavino, a freshman from Tucson, Ariz., and Keijzerwaard, a junior from Oudenhoorn, Netherlands, won 6-2 and 6-1 over opponents from Central Oklahoma and UTSA. Gavino has now won seven straight doubles matches with three different teammates. Her last three wins have occurred while paired with Keijzerwaard. 
Other male singles nominees: Grand Canyon's Lucas Grego improved to 8-0 on the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win against UC-Santa Barbara… Yehonatan Kaufman of UT Rio Grande Valley defeated DePaul 6-3, 6-1 and NM State 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Other female singles nominees: Kansas City's Michela Xibilia won her first singles match of the year against Missouri State 4-6, 7-6, 7-5… Harsha Challa of NM State clinched the match against Central Oklahoma with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory… UT Rio Grande Valley's Dominique Ibarra won her third straight match against Abilene Christian 6-2, 6-3.
Other female doubles nominees: Grand Canyon's Autum Prudhomme and Celia Morel won both matches against Liberty and Sacramento State clinching the doubles point with a 6-2 win over Sacramento State… Michela Xibilia and Yana Grechkina of Kansas City won the final set, 7-6, to earn Kansas City the doubles point in a 4-0 win over Missouri State.
Chicago State lost a close match to Toledo, 3-4. CSU was swept in the doubles matches but claimed wins in three singles. Felix Savard won 6-4, 7-6 and George Botha defeated his opponent 7-5, 7-6. Gonzalo Martinez earned the other win 5-7, 7-5, 7-6.
The Lopes lost twice throughout the week. The first a 1-6 loss to UC Santa Barbara followed by a 2-4 score against UCLA. Lucas Grego earned the solo point against UC Santa Barbara with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. GCU won the doubles point against UCLA with wins from Lorenzo Fucile and Mathieu Rajaonah and Valentin Lang and Jakub Novak. In the No. 2 slot, Rajaonah earned the only singles win with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.
The Aggies won once and lost twice at the HEB Tournament of Champions. Their first loss came to Troy, 2-4. NMSU took the doubles point and Nicolas Buitrago won 6-2, 6-4 from the No. 6 singles. NM State then lost 1-4 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Only singles were played due to a limited amount of time. Mauri Benitez claimed the solo victory 6-3, 6-3. The Aggies finished their weekend with a 4-3 win against UT Rio Grande Valley. They swept doubles and earned three singles wins. Stijn de Haan won in straight sets 7-6, 7-6. Martin Simecek won 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 and Mauri Benitez won 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.
UT Rio Grande Valley also competed in the HEB Tournament of Champions losing three times. The first was a 0-4 loss to UTSA. UTRGV then dropped a 2-4 decision to DePaul. Yehonatan Kaufman defeated his opponent 6-3, 6-1 and Zane Kohrs won 6-4, 6-2. The final loss came to NM State, 3-4. Kaufman won again 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 from the No. 2 slot. Zane Kohrs and Mateo Schmit picked up the other two wins 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 and 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, respectively.
The 2019 WAC Men's and Women's Tennis Tournaments will be hosted by UT Rio Grande Valley on April 26-28 in Brownsville, Texas. All six teams will compete in the Tournament as the first round will be No. 4 seed against No. 5 seed and No. 3 seed takes on No. 6 seed. No. 1 and No. 2 seeds earn a ticket straight to the semifinals. The winner of the tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as the WAC representative. The reigning tournament champion is NM State as they defeated NM State 4-0 in the Championship match last year.
The 2019 Tennis National Championships will take place in Orlando, Fla. at the USTA National Campus Collegiate Center on May 16-25.