Iftikhar, who began battling for the regional title on Wednesday Oct. 16, has finally earned his spot in the final match of the 128 Draw Singles bracket. He came out strong on Saturday afternoon and defeated the No. 4 seed Bettles from Boise State with a final score of 6-4, 6-1. Bettles is currently ranked No. 21 in the ITA 2013 Division I Preseason Men's Singles Rankings. Iftikhar is sitting at the 115th spot in ITA rankings.
“Sam played a very solid match from the first point to the last today against one of the best players in college tennis,” associate head coach Bart Scott said. “He’s into the final for second year in a row and will carry in some key experience into tomorrow’s final. His opponent is young and hungry and Sammy will have to be ready for a tough match.”
This is Iftikhar’s second consecutive year and the Lobo’s fourth consecutive year competing in the final round of the ITA Mountain Regionals. Iftikhar is planning to make a comeback as he came up short against a top 65 player in the 2012-13 regional championship.
He will face Denver’s unranked Henry Craig in the finals on Sunday at 11 a.m. (CST) at Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Sam’s physical fitness and mental strength was a big key to today’s victory,” head coach Alan Dils said. “He’ll need to be ready for a fight tomorrow and he will be. Should be an exciting match.”
Lobos Rodolfo Juaregui and Hayden Sabatka battled in the doubles competition on Saturday. The duo made it through the quarterfinals after defeating BSU’s Bettles and Thomas Tenreiro, 8-7. They came up short in the semifinals to the University of Idaho’s Jose Bendeck and Cristobal Ramos, 8-1.
“Making the semifinals as freshmen is a fantastic result,” Scott said.
The fifth and final day of regionals will resume on Sunday.
For full Mountain Regional results follow the link below:
2013 USTA/ITA Regional Results
(FULL RESULTS – DAY FOUR)
Men’s Open Singles:
Samir Iftikhar (UNM) def. Bettles (BSU)
Men’s Open Doubles:
Juaregui/Sabatka (UNM) def. Bettles/Tenreiro (BSU), 8-7
Bendeck/Ramos (UI) def. Juaregui/Sabatka (UNM), 8-1
Men’s Open Singles Consolation:
Alex Clinkenbeard (DU) def. Juaregui (UNM), 6-1, 6-1
Men’s Open Doubles Consolation:
Foley/Mitchell (BSU) def. Cunningham (UNM)/Rae (BYU), 8-6