Advik Mareedu Repeats as ITA West Region Champion for CMS Men's Tennis
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Sophomore Advik Mareedu was pushed to the brink by Caleb Wilkins of Chapman in the finals of the ITA West Regionals on Sunday, but Mareedu was able to prevail 6-7(8), 7-6(3), 6-4 to defend his singles regional title. Mareedu becomes the second Stag ever to repeat as ITA West Regional singles champion, following Skyler Butts' feat in 2013 and 2015.
Mareedu and Wilkins also played each other a year ago, when Mareedu won in straight sets on his way to the ITA Cup national title. In his first two seasons with the Stags, Mareedu now stands at 14-0 in the ITA Fall Tournaments., going 5-0 in the regionals last year, 4-0 at nationals, and 5-0 this season.
Mareedu got in one singles match on a rainy Saturday, defeating Andrew Kaelin 6-1, 6-3. Meanwhile, first-year Anirudh Gupta knocked off the No. 3 seed, Dominic Anderson of Redlands in three sets, taking it 6-4, 4-6, (10-2). That set up an All-Stag semifinal this morning, with Mareedu advancing 6-0, 6-2.
Wilkins also had a quick semifinal win Sunday morning, and he got the upper hand early in the championship match, taking a 5-1 lead. Mareedu battled back with two breaks of serve and held a set point receiving at 6-7 in the fist set tie-break. After an untimely string break, Mareedu was unable to close out the first set and fell 10-8 in the tie-break.
The second set featured no breaks of serve and another tie-break, with Mareedu prevailing 7-3 to force the match to a deciding full third set. Mareedu carried that momentum over into the third set by starting off with a break and a hold. He received serve at 1-3, love-forty, but Wilkins battled back with four straight points to remain only a break dowm. He then broke Mareedu to pull even, and came back from down 15-40 to hold again and take a 4-3 lead. Mareedu, though, was able to get the last momentum swing, holding serve at love and then breaking on his first break point to take a 5-4 lead. Four points later on his own serve, Mareedu had defended his ITA West Regional singles title.
Both Mareedu and Wilkins will advance through to the ITA Cup, which will be held Oct. 11-15 in Rome, Georgia.