Thayne's upset of No. 9 punctuates the end of regional championships
Albuquerque, N.M. - BYU men’s tennis has concluded its time at the ITA Mountain Regional Championships, which featured 26 matches across three days for the Cougars. Saturday’s 4-2 record was the team’s best of the week and was punctuated by Wally Thayne going 2-0, including an upset over the ninth-ranked player in the tournament.
"This week's ITA Regional was filled with opportunities, challenges and successes. Wally Thayne continues to step up and get big wins for the Cougars. Zach Fuchs also continues to show steady improvement after a long, injury-riddled spring and summer. All in all it was a good week that will help prepare us for the Rice Fall Challenge later this month," said head coach Dave Porter.
In total, the Cougars secured 12 wins in New Mexico. Freshman Redd Owen had a combined 3-1 record in singles and doubles, while Thayne was 3-1 in singles, including winning three straight to end the tournament.
Main Draw Singles
- Wally Thayne def. No. 9 Berk Bugarikj (Utah) 2-6, 6-3, 10-4
- Wally Thayne def. Valentino De Pellegrin (Idaho State) 6-2, 6-4
- Victor Sklenka (Idaho State) def. Mateo Vereau 3-6 (retired)
- Maikel de Boes (NAU) def. Zach Fuchs 6-7 (5), 7-5, 10-5
Main Draw Doubles
- Fuchs/Vereau def. Kakhniuk/Noroozian (New Mexico) 8-6
No. 5 Barnett and Thayne were given an automatic advancement as their opponents, Buxman and Zulch (Weber State), withdrew prior to the match.
- No. 4 Owen/Chen def. Moore/Brown (Air Force) 8-7 (3)
- Galus/Donovan (NAU) def. No. 2 Lakovljevic/Lin 8-5
Thayne’s victory over Bugarikj was his first career win over a ranked regional opponent. It also came against his former school, having transferred from Utah after his freshman 2020-21 season. He has now won five of his last six singles matches.
After dropping a two-break first set, Thayne seized momentum with a one-break set two win. He expanded the margins even further in set three, which was a condensed first to ten-point frame. Thayne then carried his strong play into his evening match, where he earned a comfortable straight-set victory.
Owen and Chen’s doubles match needed a tiebreaker to decide a winner, but the Cougars almost never made it to that point. The pair faced two Air Force match points before rallying to force a match tiebreaker, with their momentum fueling a four-point win.
BYU has a week off before traveling to Texas for the Rice Invitational Oct. 27-29. That competition will conclude the team’s fall schedule, with the spring dual match portion beginning in January.
BYU men’s tennis visits New Mexico in pursuit of regional championship
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Players from 15 ITA Mountain Region schools will compete across five days this weekend for a regional championship in both singles and doubles play. The annual competition also awards qualifying spots to the ITA National Fall Championships, one of four collegiate tennis national championship events.
The tournament runs from Thursday, Oct. 13 to Monday, Oct. 17. BYU head coach Dave Porter will have his entire roster competing together for the first time this season with the exception of Brigham Andrus, who is currently recovering from an injury.
The top four players from each school will enter the main draws, which determine the two regional championships. BYU will be represented there by Jack Barnett, Zach Fuchs, Wally Thayne and Mateo Vereau. Barnett and Thayne will team up for doubles, as will Fuchs and Vereau. The singles portion has 64 players, while doubles has 32 teams.
A secondary Lobo draw will be available for the rest of team. Brian Chen, Dominik Jakovljevic, Alex Lin and Redd Owen will compete in that division for the Cougars, which begins with a singles round of 32. Jakovljevic and Lin are doubles partners, as are Owen and Chen, with both teams receiving a bye past the initial round of 16.
Schedule and Format
The singles and doubles regional champions will represent the Mountain Region at the National Fall Championships, as will the singles runner-up. The ITA, collegiate tennis’ governing body, is divided into 12 regions. The Mountain Region consists of 20 schools from eight states, with 15 of the schools sending representatives to New Mexico.
Both singles and doubles will be single elimination draws in the two divisions. Singles play begins Thursday morning, with doubles action starting on Friday. Consolation matches will also be held.
The main draw will have one singles and one doubles match each day, with two singles matches on Friday and two doubles rounds on Saturday. The Lobo draw follows the same format, with an extra singles match to be played on Thursday.
Barnett is BYU’s top-ranked singles player in the main draw, earning the No. 12 seed. He and Thayne are also a high seed in doubles, coming in at No. 5. The Cougars are well seeded in Lobo doubles as well, with Jakovljevic and Lin No. 2 and Owen and Chen No. 4.
Main Singles Draw - Thursday
- 10:00 a.m. MDT - Mateo Vereau (BYU) versus Ryo Minakata (Boise State)
- 11:30 a.m. - Zach Fuchs (BYU) versus Samuel Sippel (Boise State)
- 1:00 p.m. - Wally Thayne (BYU) versus No. 3 Nicolas Herrera Cuesta (Denver)
- 2:30 p.m. - No. 12 Jack Barnett (BYU) versus James Van Herzeele (Boise State)
Main Doubles Draw - Friday
- 8:30 a.m. - No. 5 Thayne/Barnett (BYU) versus Minakata/Arca Costas (Boise State)
- 10:00 a.m. - Fuchs/Vereau (BYU) versus No. 2 Panik/Nathan (Montana State)
Lobo Singles Draw - Thursday
Round of 32
- 8:30 a.m. - Brian Chen (BYU) versus Yehor Opanasenko (New Mexico State)
- 9:45 a.m. - Redd Owen (BYU) versus Ryan Ford (New Mexico State)
- 11:00 a.m. - Alex Lin (BYU) versus Vassanth Mathan (New Mexico State)
- Dominik Jakovljevic (BYU) bye
Round of 16
- 11:00 a.m. - Chen versus Jack Brown (Air Force) or bye
- 12:15 p.m. - Owen versus TBD
- 12:15 p.m. - Jakovljevic versus TBD
- 1:30 p.m. - Lin versus No. 2 Maciej Ziomber (Northern Arizona) or bye
Lobo Doubles Draw - Saturday
While Lobo doubles begin on Friday, both BYU teams have received byes to Saturday.
- 9:30 a.m. - No. 2 Jakovljevic/Lin (BYU) versus Galus/Donovan (Northern Arizona)
- 9:30 a.m. - No. 4 Owen/Chen (BYU) versus TBD
The team’s social media accounts will post further scheduling announcements, including draws and results, as they occur. All main draws matches will be held at the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium. Lobo division matches will start at the nearby Lobo Tennis Club before moving to McKinnon later in the week, beginning with the quarterfinal round for singles and semifinal round for doubles.
The tournament is hosted by the University of New Mexico. Streaming will be available for all McKinnon matches at the links below.
Barnett is set for his second appearance back from injury this year. Last season’s No. 1 for the Cougars is in his fourth year and enjoyed a successful regional run in 2021. He advanced to the quarterfinals for both singles and doubles, with his singles loss coming to the eventual champion.
Fuchs is also back from injury, having just made his first appearance of the season last weekend. He compiled a 7-3 singles and 5-3 doubles record in 2021-22, his first with the Cougars. He and Vereau are 2-1 together all-time.
Fresh off two straight-set singles wins to close the UCSB Classic, Thayne will be hoping to continue his good run of form through several more matches. He is also a high-seeded contender in doubles, finishing last season ranked 10th in Mountain Region doubles with teammate Tennyson Whiting.
Fifth-year senior Vereau is looking to return to another regional final after being defeated by teammate Sean Hill in the 2019 singles championship. He will also likely make his 100th career singles appearance in New Mexico, as he sits on 98 entering the tournament.