M. Tennis: Pair of wins concludes regular season

Nikita Katsnelson won his singles and doubles match against Mesa (AZ) CC
Nikita Katsnelson won his singles and doubles match against Mesa (AZ) CC

Playing their second doubleheader in as many days, the Cerritos College men's tennis team finished up their regular season with a pair of wins. Their starting lineup posted a tough 5-4 win over Mesa (AZ) CC, while the reserves handed College of the Desert an 8-1 decision. The Falcons (26-1), ranked #2 in the state, will host the South Coast Conference Tournament April 6-7.

Cerritos vs. Mesa (AZ): Taking on one of the better teams in the NJCAA, the Falcons were able to pull out a 5-4 win. The strength of their doubles gave Cerritos a 2-1 team lead heading into singles play. The two wins they picked up came from the team's top pairing of sophomore Sasha Krasnov (School 106, Ukraine) and Nikita Katsnelson (Odessa Gymnasium No. 1, Ukraine), who recorded an 8-3 win, while sophomores Aleks Trifunovic (Katrinelund Gymnasiet, Sweden) and James Zhang (Shenzhen Luohu Foreign Language School, China) earned an 8-2 win.

Singles play provided an upset, as Krasnov, the top player in Southern California, suffered his first loss of the season. He was upended by David Felix, 5-7, 3-6, who is ranked #14 in the nation by the NJCAA. Katsnelson counterbalanced that loss with a convincing 6-4, 6-1 win in the #2 position, with the Falcons securing wins in the #4 and #5 spots. Freshman Marcos Paulo Silvestre (Colégio Tiradentes, Brazil) posted a 6-4, 6-1 win, while Zhang came away with a solid 6-1, 6-1 win.

After playing a heated doubles match with Silvestre, freshman Bruno Duarte (Centro Educacional Rogêdo, Brazil) was forced to scratch in singles play, which affected the team's ladder. A regular in the #4 position, the bottom half of the ladder all moved up one spot, with freshman Mukhammadjon Sanaev (Tashkent International School, Uzbekistan) stepping in at the #6 spot, where he came up short in a 4-6, 3-6 match.

David Felix (MESA) def. Sasha Krasnov (CERR), 7-5, 6-3
Nikita Katsnelson (CERR) def. Linus Holthey (MESA), 6-4, 6-1
Noel Maurin (MESA) def. Aleks Trifunovic (CERR), 3-6, 6-2, 10-4
Marcos Paulo Silvestre (CERR) def. Gergo Rednek (MESA), 6-4, 6-1
James Zhang (CERR) def. Eduardo Cuoto (MESA), 6-1, 6-1
Kim Donghyun (MESA) def. Mukhammadjon Sanaev (CERR), 6-4, 6-3

Sasha Krasnov/Nikita Katsnelson (CERR) def. Linus/Holthey/Noel Maurin (MESA), 8-3
David Felix/GergoRendek (MESA) def. Bruno Duarte/Marcos Paulo Silvestre (CERR), 8-5
Aleks Trifunovic/James Zhang (CERR) def. Eduardo Cuoto/Kim Donghyun (MESA), 8-2

Cerritos vs. College of the Desert: In their other match of the day, the Falcons handled the Roadrunners (5-11) with four straight set singles wins and were aided by a pair of forfeits. In doubles play, the tandem of freshmen Carlos Mendez (Instituto de Educación Secundaria Ies El Palo, Spain) and Biel Roca Carreras (Iguolada, Spain), as well as Henry Ayesiga (Malezi School, Kenya) and Kwang-Eun Lee (Sunny Hills HS) each got the day started with matching 8-2 wins.

They kept in going in singles action, with Roca Carreras leading the way with his 6-0, 6-0 win in the #3 position. Ayesiga finished off Jakob Dvorken, 6-1, 6-1, while Lee dropped just one game in his #5 match, 6-1, 6-0. Mendez took over the #1 singles spot against COD and earned a 6-2, 6-3 victory, with freshman Blaisure Guerrero (El Rancho HS) retiring in his match due to an injury.

Carlos Mendez (CERR) def. Dimitrije Vukovic (COD), 6-2, 6-3
Henry Ayesiga (CERR) def. Jakob Dvorken (COD), 6-1, 6-1
Biel Roca Carreras (CERR) def. Miguel Nolasco (COD), 6-0, 6-0
Eleazar Vazquez-Celis (COD) def. Blaisure Guerrero (CERR), 6-2, 3-2 (retired)
Kwang-Eun Lee (CERR) def. Clayton Carlson (COD), 6-1, 6-0
Cerritos win by forfeit

Carlos Mendez/Biel Roca Carreras (CERR) def. Dimitrije Vukovic/Jakob Dvorken (COD), 8-2
Henry Ayesiga/Kwang-Eun Lee (CERR) def. Eleazar Vazquez-Celis/Clayton Carlson (COD), 8-2
Mukhammadjon Sanaev/Blaisure Guerrero (CERR) win by forfeit

Photos by Daryl Peterson