Eagles Excel at Boise State Fall Classic

Fernando Mussolini advances to quarterfinals of competitive "Blue" bracket; Simikic/Malagutti claim doubles consolation title

The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team had a superb showing at the Boise State Fall Classic, as the team recorded 12 wins in singles play and six in doubles. The Eagles had eight of its nine members competing at the three-day event, held Oct. 8-10 in Boise, Idaho. Highlighting the weekend was sophomore Fernando Mussolini, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the most competitive bracket after he won three-consecutive singles matches. In the third round of play, Mussolini recorded a huge win over Bryan Thorp of Portland, as he outlasted the Pilot in three laborious sets. Thorp had the early advantage after taking the first set 6-3, but Mussolini battled back to win sets two and three by scores of 7-5 and 7-6.

"Fernando really impressed me this weekend," said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. "He had several come-from-behind wins that showed his tenacity and mental toughness. He proved he wants to step up and be a leader on the team this year."

Junior Julian Sanchez and freshman Mario Navarro also recorded wins in the "blue" bracket, as Sanchez defeated Utah State's Fredrik Peterson 7-5, 6-1 and Navarro topped Viktor Svoboda of Lewis-Clark State with a 6-3, 6-4 decision.

In the "orange" singles bracket, junior Stefan Simikic had an impressive run, as he made it through to the quarterfinals after earning a quality win over Oregon's Jose Izquierdo. Simikic, a former Boise State Bronco, topped Izquierdo 6-3 in the first set, but then fell in the second by a narrow 7-6 margin. In the deciding set, Simikic handled his opponent with ease, taking the set and match with a 6-3 decision.

Sophomore Flavio Malagutti was also solid in the "orange" bracket, as he won his second and third-round matchups to also advance to the quarterfinals. One of his wins was a 6-2, 6-7, 6-2 victory over Montana State's Markus Schleuter.

"Flavio has been magical in our fall season," said Haworth. "He is grinding it out to the end and just getting the job done for us. I am very pleased with his determination and work rate."

Despite the absence of its No. 1 pair, the Eagles had a strong showing in doubles play as well, which included two wins over team's from Pac-10 powerhouse Oregon. In the "blue" doubles bracket, Mussolini and Sanchez edged OU's Clissold and Rovello in a marathon match that required extra sets. The Eagles eventually won with a 9-8 decision. After defeating Seattle's Chalmers and Lynch in the second round of the "orange" doubles bracket, freshman Luis Altimires and sophomore Kyle Koetje upset Korth and Higuchi of Oregon (8-5) to advance to the semis. The duo ended up losing their semifinal match to Soster and Grubbs of the Air Force Academy.

Simikic and Malagutti dropped their first match in doubles play, but rebounded well, as they went on to win three straight matches in the consolation bracket to take home the crown. The Eagle pair beat teams from Gonzaga, Portland and Utah en route to claiming the title.

"Unfortunately, we lost Chad [Henninger] in the first day of competition, which altered our doubles situation," said Haworth. "Chad was bummed for himself and the team, because he is the type of person who would play on a broken leg if we let him, but I was wholly impressed with our performances despite not having our usual top team in the mix."

"This was a great tournament for us. The guys came to play. We gained more experience and confidence with each match and feel really good about our start to the 2010-11 season."

The Eagles will next travel to Stanford, Calif., for the highly-competitive ITA Regionals on Oct. 15-16.

Eagle Results

"Blue" Flight Singles

First Round
Fernando Mussolini def. Alex Grubbs (Air Force), 7-6, 6-0
Andres Tischer (Lewis-Clark St.) def. Luis Altimires, 7-6, 6-1

Second Round
Fernando Mussolini def. Dakota Pate (Idaho State), 6-4, 6-2
Julian Sanchez def. Fredrik Peterson (Utah State), 7-5, 6-1
Mario Navarro def. Vikto Svoboda (Lewis-Clark St.), 6-3, 6-4

Third Round
Fernando Mussolini def. Bryan Thorp (Portland), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6
Marius Cirstald (Idaho) def. Julian Sanchez, 6-4, 6-3
#3 Lachlan Reed def. Mario Navarro, 6-0, 6-2

Filipp Pogostkin (Boise State) def. Fernando Mussolini, 6-3, 6-4

"Blue" Consolation Singles
Luis Altimires def. Simon Meske (Seattle), 7-5, 7-5
Jake Asplund def. Luis Altimires, 6-4, 6-4

"Orange" Flight Singles

First Round
Stefan Simikic def. Peter Jones (Portland), 6-0, 6-1

Second Round
Stefan Simikic def. Jordan Prince (Seattle), 6-4, 6-3
Flavio Malagutti def. Markus Schleuter (Montana State), 6-2, 6-7, 6-2
Kyle Koetje def. Nick Wales (Portland), 6-4, 6-3
Abid Akbar def. Chad Henninger, 7-5, 6-2

Third Round
Stefan Simikic def. Jose Izquierdo (Oregon), 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
Flavio Malagutti def. Scott Sullivan (Gonzaga), 6-4, 6-1
Doug Mayeda (Oregon) def. Kyle Koetje, 6-2, 6-7, 6-0

Ratan Gill (Portland) def. Stefan Simikic, 6-2, 6-0
#2 Robin Cambier (Oregon) def. Flavio Malagutti, 6-2, 6-0

"Orange" Consolation Singes
David Cysneiros (Montana) def. Chad Henninger, 6-0, 6-2

"Blue" Flight Doubles

Second Round
Mussolini/Sanchez def. Clissold/Rovello (Oregon), 9-8

#1 Reed/Akbar (Idaho) def. Mussolini/Sanchez, 8-3

"Orange" Flight Doubles

Second Round
Altimires/Koetje def. Chalmers/Lynch (Seattle), 8-5
Meske/Bediones (Seattle) def. Simikic/Malagutti, 8-4

Altimires/Koetje def. Korth/Higuchi (Oregon), 8-5

Soster/Grubbs (Air Force) def. Altimires/Koetje, 8-4

"Orange" Consolation Doubles

Simikic/Malagutti def. Ismath/Guillermo (Gonzaga), 8-6

Simikic/Malagutti def. Wales/Horwath (Portland), 9-8

Simikic/Malagutti def. Mamedov/Octa (Utah), 8-4

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