May 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Minnesota, in its 21st NCAA appearance, defeated New Mexico, 4-0, in an NCAA Championships Men's Tennis first-round match at USC's Marks Stadium on Friday (May 8).
The Gophers improved to 19-7 and advanced to the second round, where they’ll play the winner of the upcoming USC-UC Santa Barbara match. Minnesota is in the midst of its greatest one-year turnaround after finishing 2008 at 7-17. New Mexico ended its season at 20-6.

Phil Arndt and Ishay Hadash got the Gophers off to a good start, downing New Mexico’s Graeme Kassautski and Joe Wood, 8-6, at No. 2 doubles. The Gophers then clinched the doubles point when Sebastian Gallego and Julian Dehn downed Ben Dunbar and Carl Ho, 8-4. The Lobos’ Miles Bugby and Johnny Parkes were ahead of Tobias Wernet and Michael Sicora, 7-6, when action was suspended.

Minnesota’s No. 4 singles Dino Bilankov was the first Gopher to add to the lead when he downed Dunbar, 6-4, 6-1. Soon after Dehn, at No. 5 singles, downed Lobo Phil Anderson, 6-2, 6-3, to put the Gophers ahead 3-0. Dehn won five straight games to close out the second set.

While the sets were split on courts 1, 2 and 6, all eyes turned to Gallego at No. 3 singles. Gallego took the first set 6-0, but Bugby made the second set a battle. Gallego, however, was able to end the match before a Lobo rally started, clinching the match with a 6-4 second set.