LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The University of New Mexico men’s tennis team dropped a tight 5-2 match to the UNLV Rebels on Sunday afternoon at the Fertitta Tennis Complex. The loss against the Rebels puts UNM at 16-7, 1-2 on the season.
“UNLV played well today,” head coach Alan Dils said. “Our Lobos did a good job fighting and we could have won if we would have turned a couple points in our direction. We look forward to getting Sam Iftikhar back in the lineup.”
The No. 68 Lobos played Sunday’s match without junior Samir Iftikhar who has played the No. 1 position for UNM in just about every match this season. Iftikhar is currently in the Philippines competing on Pakistan’s 2014 Davis Cup team. He will return home this week to compete with the Lobos this weekend in their final regular season matches.
Iftikhar’s absence may have thrown off the flow of the Lobo lineup.
UNM started the match by losing the doubles point in a close fight. Mads Hegelund and Andrew Van Der Vyver gave the Lobos a 1-0 edge with a win in the No. 2 spot, but UNLV snuck ahead in the No. 3 and No. 1 positions. James Hignett and Mitchell McDaniels fell to Jakob Amilon and Dimitar Petrov, 8-6. Hayden Sabatka and Rodolfo Jauregui lost in a tiebreaker at seven-all.
The Lobos tallied wins in two of the first three singles matches to put the score at an even 2-2 and keep UNM in the match. Hignett defeated Willie Sublett, 6-2, 6-0 for UNM’s first point of the match. McDaniels recorded a win against Amilon in the No. 6 spot.
Unfortunately, those would be the only victories that UNM would pick up against the Rebels. Hegelund, Van Der Vyver, and Jauregui all lost in three-set heartbreakers.
Sabatka replaced Iftikhar is the No. 1 singles spot. He fell to UNLV’s Ace Matias, 6-1, 6-1.
A tough loss to the Rebels is somewhat familiar to UNM’s returners from last season. The last time these two opponents squared off, the Lobos fell 4-3 on their home turf.
The Lobos return home this weekend to host Utah State and Nevada in their final regular season matches of the year.
Result: UNLV def. No. 68 New Mexico, 5-2
1. Ace Matias (UNLV) def. Hayden Sabatka (UNM) 6-1, 6-1
2. Denys Pume (UNLV) def. Rodolfo Jauregui (UNM) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
3. Tamas Batyi (UNLV) def. Andrew Van Der Vyver (UNM) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
4. James Hignett (UNM) def. Willie Sublette (UNLV) 6-2, 6-0
5. Dimitar Petrov (UNLV) def. Mads Hegelund (UNM) 6-2, 0-6, 6-4
6. Mitch McDaniels (UNM) def. Jakob Amilon (UNLV) 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish: (1,4,6,3,2,5)
Order of Finish: (2,3,1)