Doubles dominate: Torres, Bendeck claim Blue Flight title
Victory always tastes better for a Vandal when it’s in Bronco territory, and this weekend all the Vandals got a small taste but Jose Bendeck and Cesar Torres got it the best.
“It was great to win a flight in a high quality tournament and to have some of the other guys put up some great results as well,” Idaho director of tennis Jeff Beaman said.
Bendeck and Torres didn’t beat any Broncos on their way to the top but they did go 4-0 this weekend and won their doubles flight. This is the second straight tournament in which Torres won the doubles flight, with a different partner both times.
“He has been a machine with never missing a return and really placing the ball, which allows Jose who is good at the net to play his style,” Beaman said.
Torres didn’t make the doubles line-up last year and has worked hard to improve his game. Beaman said Torres has definitely showed the progress he has made. Torres has now won nine doubles matches in a row, a feat he said he feels really good about because he has never done it before.
Torres said much of the credit for this win goes to his partner.
“Jose is a very good player because he has a very good serve and good ground control,” Torres said.
This pairing was a last second decision, after injuries forced the Vandals to alter their line-up. After this stellar performance, this is definitely a pairing Beaman will have to consider for the spring.
The rest of the Vandals may not have won any flights, but that’s not to say they didn’t have some great wins in doubles and singles.
Bendeck and Abid Akbar entered the main draw of the tournament and both had first-round singles wins against Portland State opponents. Bendeck won 6-3, 6-0 and Akbar won 6-0, 6-0. Akbar’s win was over an opponent who beat him in two tough matches last year.
Akbar won two more matches before finishing in fifth place in the flight. Bendeck lost a tough second round match to the No. 2 seed, Hans Hach, a ranked player from Abilene Christian University, in three sets.
The other singles draw included Filip Fichtel, Matt Oddonetto, Jake Knox and Torres. Knox went out in the first round, Oddonetto in the second and Torres and Fichtel in the third, with Torres finishing fifth place in the flight.
Idaho entered three teams for doubles play. Akbar and Oddonetto teamed up and played in the Orange Flight and, after a first round bye, won two straight to advance to the semi-final round, where they lost to an Idaho State pair.
The other two Idaho teams joined the blue draw. Fichtel and Knox won their first round 8-4 but were taken out in the second round by an ACU team, 8-4. Bendeck and Torres were there to defend them, defeating Alfredo Desiati and Brett Proctor in the championship match 8-3.
Bendeck hopes tournament success like this will better prepare the team for the ITA Mountain Region Championships.
“I think every win will give you more confidence for that kind of tournament, and I think we all are prepared for it,” Bendeck said.
Regionals begin Oct. 17 and after a great showing last year, the Vandals are excited to see what they can do this time around.
“Last year we finished really strong, finishing second in the conference and we didn’t really have these big results in the fall,” Beaman said. “Every tournament so far we have had impressive results, so it’s a good sign.”
Charles Crowley can be reached at email@example.com