CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi tennis program picked up a handful of titles on Sunday on the final day of the Third-Annual Islanders Open, the first official tournament at the state-of-the-art Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The team will add another championship on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the facility when Aurelien Tave and Matt Westmoreland play to decide the men's bracket winner.
"Whenever there are conditions such as heat and wind, it favors the more mentally-tough player," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "It is very important to us to always use those elements to our advantage."
In a tournament that turned into a fitness marathon with extremely hot and humid conditions, Stefania Nicolae prevailed over a field that included top players from Houston, Lamar, UTSA, Abilene Christian, Laredo CC and Tyler JC.
"This team always fights hard; it's just a part of their makeup," said Moore. "But our first tournament in this incredible facility, there was definitely a little something extra in the way they competed."
Nicolae picked up the singles title in the women's main draw after beating Natalia Mayagoitia of Lamar by a 6-3, 6-1 score in the semifinals. Her opponent in the finals withdrew due to injury to give her the championship.
"Aurelien, Matt, Stefania and a lot of these new players are working extremely hard and really developing their games," said Moore. "I'm really proud of the way a lot of these young players have stepped up."
In the consolation bracket, Mia Matuszak captured the title after a win over teammate Ashley Garza by a 6-3, 6-2 score advanced her to the semis against Nelo Phiri of Tyler Junior College. In the semifinals, Matuszak captured a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win to reach the finals. She faced Alejandra Enderica of TJC and picked up an 8-2 win as the two played a pro set to eight.
In men's action, Islanders Tave and Westmoreland will meet after both advanced to the finals with wins on Sunday. Tave won a 6-0, 7-6 (7-4) match against Alfredo Desiati of Abilene Christian to advance. Westmoreland took a 6-1, 4-6, (8-6) match against Matt Campbell of ACU with the two playing a third-set tiebreaker to determine the winner.
Fernando Llorens of Texas A&M – Corpus Christi won a 6-3, 6-0 match in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket before falling 3-6, 6-3, (8-6) against Ryan Kennedy of Tyler JC.
In doubles, Tave and Pietro Jordao won the championship after and 8-3 win over a team from TJC in the semifinals. Their opponent in the finals had to withdraw due to injury to give the Islanders the title.
The final title of the tournament will be decided on Tuesday night at the Henry Tennis Center when teammates Tave and Westmoreland meet to determine which Islanders player will take home the title for the second year in a row.
Last year, Laurent Montoisy played James Langford at Corpus Christi Athletic Club in front of several hundred people The Islanders are holding the match on Tuesday night so fans can have a chance to come out and cheer on the players as they vie for the title. Admission to the match will be free.
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