LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Sept. 23) - New Mexico State men's tennis freshmen Daniel Fernandez and Naveen Manivanaan highlighted the final day of the Aggie Invitational with an appearance in the main draw doubles final at the NM State Tennis Center Sunday.
The Aggie freshman tandem earned a spot in the final after an 8-4 defeat of Arizona in the semifinals on Saturday. After rattling off three straight victories in the duo's first three career doubles matches at NM State, the pairing fell 8-1 to Abilene Christian in the Aggie Invitational doubles final. As a result, Fernandez and Manivanaan finished the weekend at 3-1.
New Mexico State's other doubles semifinalist team of senior Luis Ramirez and junior Marc Westgate fell 8-2 to the same ACU team on Saturday. On Sunday Ramirez and Westgate fought off Arizona for an 8-6 win to claim third overall.
After NM State advanced four players to the singles quarterfinals Saturday, Ramirez was the lone Aggie to emerge into the semifinals after a double-bagel of Borja Cortes from ACU. The Aggie captain went three sets in his semifinal match against Rodrigo Almeida of Western New Mexico. Ramirez took the first set 6-3 but Almeida reversed that result with a 6-3 win in the second. In the deciding set, Almeida needed extra games to take the set at 7-5 and claim the match win.
Three other Aggies also played singles quarterfinal matches. Fernandez lost in three sets to Giancomo Miccini of Arizona. The Aggie newcomer dropped set one 6-4 but won the second at 7-5. Miccini posted the win after a 6-3 decision in the third set. Sophomore Eduardo Cabrita fell 6-2, 6-2 to eventual champion Hans Hach of ACU. Classmate Germain Degardin lost 6-1, 6-1 to Almeida in his quarter.
"I'm very pleased the results from our new players this weekend," said head coach Carlos Vargas. "I feel they will add great strength to our team this season. I'm especially happy with the solid performance by our senior captain Ramirez and the effort shown by Cabrita, who is much improved."
NM State was 6-2 in all matches played on Sunday. Degardin and Cabrita registered consolation singles victories as did Aggie freshmen Strahinja Trecakov and Yannick Blank while former Mayfield High School star Jeremy Harlas came up short in his match. Degardin and Blank also teamed up for a doubles victory to wrap up the tourney.
Three Aggies were selected to play in the pre-qualifying round of the 2012 ITA Men's All-American Championships beginning Sat. Sept. 29 in Tulsa, Okla. Ramirez, Westgate and Fernandez round out the NM State entries into the national tournament conducted by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
The team returns to action in two weeks at the Balloon Fiesta Tournament in Albuquerque beginning Friday, Oct. 5.
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