Eemann Latifi, second year Saddleback College singles tennis player, is one of Saddleback College’s strongest players. (Oliver Yu)
Victorious singles matches on behalf of the Saddleback College Men’s Tennis team sealed the fate of Palomar College, ending with a 6-0 win for Saddleback on Thursday. This was a welcomed victory enabling the Gauchos to enter their season with a 1-0 record.
Contributing to that record were singles players Travis McClellan and Eemaun Latifi. McClellan ended his match with a 6-1, 6-0 win against TJ Garcia of Palomar. Garcia “beat himself,” stated McClellan, “his serve broke down…and I made shots.”
The 6-3, 6-3 match won by Latifi was more of a battle with some challenging deuces. Both McClellan, who played consistently through his match, and Latifi are in their sophomore year of play at Saddleback.
With a ‘W’ secured, a lighter atmosphere covered the courts as substitutes and first year players were able to compete in singles scrimmages and doubles matches.
Freshman Parham Khansari got an unexpected opportunity to gain confidence in a singles scrimmage. Coach Bud Davis described Khansari as “a really hard worker” and encouraged him to “go have fun” with the experience.
Although he was nervous going into the scrimmage, Khansari defeated his Palomar opponent using a winning strategy including techniques such as lobbing and keeping his opponent working with a forehand stroke.
Gaining experience is a goal Coach Bud Davis has for his newer players this season. Khansari gained a lot of experience from his match, learning he needs to work on the consistency of his serves because “double faulting is my weakness,” Khansari said.
The doubles matches were just as successful as the singles. Teammates Austen Ward and Jonathan Tran won with a score of 8-6. Continuing the winning streak, the duo of Allen Darmawan and Will McKinney came out with an 8-1 victory.
Although the matches were successful there are always strategies and techniques to practice and perfect. Coach Davis suggested shot selection and placement of serves as two things that need work in the coming weeks. With many opposing teams seeming quite “top-heavy,” Coach Davis described his team as “not overpowering,” but “solid and evenly balanced.”
Coach Davis not only stresses the physical abilities of his players, but also “manners, communication, and respect.” Communication is imperative in a team setting in order to find solutions to problems.
Another aspect of the team that Davis is excited about is the addition of Omeed Latifi to the roster. Omeed is Eemaun’s older brother but this will be his first season playing tennis as a Gaucho. With his eligibility beginning Feb. 9 the Gauchos are excited to see what Omeed will bring to the team this season.