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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Oct. 5)-The New Mexico State men's tennis team began play in the Balloon Fiesta Invitational with strong performances in both doubles and singles action.

The Aggies won four of five doubles matches on the first day of the tournament in Albuquerque. In the Cherry doubles flight, senior Luis Ramirez and junior Marc Westgate defeated senior Shaun Waters and senior Robert Martin of Northern Arizona, 8-5. Sophomore Germain Degardin and freshman Yannick Blank downed junior Steven Young and junior Ali Rizvi of Air Force, 8-4. The freshman duo of Daniel Fernandez and Naveen Mannivanan beat juniors Alex Grubbs and Andy Jackson from Air Force, 9-8.

In the Silver doubles flight, sophomore Eduardo Cabrita and freshman Stahinja Trecakov paired to beat Air Force's senior Stephen Katrein and junior Alex Lineberry, 8-5. Freshman Jeremy Harlas and freshman Guilherme Carvalho fell to Denver's sophomore Frederick Bjorne and sophomore Preben Bjorne, 8-5.

"It was another chance to see everyone play, especially the freshmen, who I have not seen play much other than practice and our tournament at home," head coach Carlos Vargas said. "It was encouraging to see the new guys contributing already, and they get a little better every time we come out. It's still early in the season, and it is good to see them already be a factor this early on after only a couple of months here."

In singles action, two Aggies won their matches in straight sets in the Cherry flight with Fernandez defeating Grubbs, 6-1, 6-4, and Ramirez beating Young, 6-3, 6-0.  The Aggies went 1-1 in the Silver flight with Westgate downing freshman Jack McCullers of Air Force, 7-6, 6-2, while Degardin lost a three-set struggle to freshman Riaan Du Toit of New Mexico, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

"Overall, we had a pretty good showing," Vargas said. "We have some good matchups that we are looking forward to tomorrow that should be a little harder as we move on to semifinals and finals."

In the Turquoise flight, Manivannan defeated Jackson, 6-3, 6-3, and Cabrita rebounded to beat Preben Bjorne, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. Trecakov fell to UNM's sophomore Mitch McDaniels, 6-1, 6-0.

In the White flight, Blank beat Martin in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Carvalho fell to Katrein, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4, and Harlas lost to Frederick Bjorne, 6-2, 6-2.

The Aggies continue the Balloon Fiesta Invitational, Saturday, Oct. 6 in Albuquerque with semifinal action.

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