M. Tennis: Falcons hold off Cypress for win

File Photo: Sasha Krasnov secured the #1 ranking with his singles win
File Photo: Sasha Krasnov secured the #1 ranking with his singles win

Playing a very close match against Cypress College on Friday, the Cerritos College men's tennis team secured their 12th win in a row with a 6-3 decision. The Falcons (21-1), ranked #2 in the state, will play five matches over the course of three days next week starting with a South Coast Conference match against Mt. San Antonio College on Tuesday. The 2:00 p.m. match will be played at Citrus College.

It was a match of strange occurances, as several penalty points were assessed to the Falcons in both the #1 singles and #1 doubles matches. The sophomore duo of Sasha Krasnov (School 106, Ukraine) and Nikita Katsnelson (Odessa Gymnasium No. 1, Ukraine) were unable to recover from an incorrect penalty point and dropped a rare match, 8-6 to Maximilien Blancaneaux and Vincent Reynaud. However, the other two Cerritos doubles teams came away with big wins, which gave them a 2-1 team lead heading into singles play. Both pairings of sophomores Aleks Trifunovic (Katrinelund Gymnasiet, Sweden) and James Zhang (Shenzhen Luohu Foreign Language School, China), as well as freshmen Bruno Duarte (Centro Educacional Rogêdo, Brazil) and Marcos Paulo Silvestre (Colégio Tiradentes, Brazil) recorded 8-5 wins.

Krasnov and Katsnelson exacted revenge in singles play, as they each won their matches. All six singles competitions were marathons, but nothing like Krasnov's against Blancaneaux, which went an exhausting four hours by itself. After dropping the first set, 6-7, Krasnov fought back in the next two sets to post 6-4, 6-4 wins.

The victory secured the #1 seed for Krasnov heading into Ojai, as he has defeated the next two top ranked players, Blancaneaux and Wyatt DeMulling of Irvine Valley College. Blancaneaux and DeMulling split their two head-to-head matches, while Krasnov fought back against DeMulling for a thrilling 1-6, 7-6, 13-11 back on February 25. Krasnov is the first Falcon player to be the #1 seed since 2013 when Nathan Eshmade, and he went on to win both the CCCAA State singles and doubles titles.

Straight set wins by freshman Carlos Mendez (Instituto de Educación Secundaria Ies El Palo, Spain) at #6, followed by wins from Trifunovic (6-4, 6-4) and Katsnelson (7-5, 6-3) locked down the team win for Cerritos. Zhang dropped a three-set decision, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 in the #5 position, while Duarte suffered his first singles loss of the season when he had to retire in the third set.

Sasha Krasnov (CERR) def. Maximilien Blancaneaux (CYP), 6-7, 6-4, 6-4
Nikita Katsnelson (CERR) def. Vincent Reynaud (CYP), 7-5, 6-3
Aleks Trifunovic (CERR) def. Yubo Chen (CYP), 6-4, 6-4
Thomas Kyle (CYP) def. Bruno Duarte (CERR), 3-6, 6-3, 4-2 (retired)
Ingmar Rennerswaal (CYP) def. James Zhang (CERR), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Carlos Mendez (CERR) def. Gertjan De Wilder (CYP), 6-4, 6-4

Maximilien Blancaneaux/Vincent Reynaud (CYP) def. Sasha Krasnov/Nikita Katsnelson (CERR), 8-6
Aleks Trifunovic/James Zhang (CERR) def. Yubo Chen/Ingmar Rennerswaal (CYP), 8-5
Bruno Duarte/Marcos Paulo Silvestre (CERR) def. Thomas Kyle/Gertjan De Wilder (CYP), 8-5