The Frenchman crumbled, a former San Diegan tumbled and friends and teammates rumbled. All in all, an interesting day at USD Sunday.
The final rounds of the 18th San Diego Intercollegiate Men's Tennis Tournament began under threatening skies, but the weather cooperated long enough to complete the 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6 singles finals. Winning all the divisions were the sweep-happy Toreros: sophomore Jose Luis Noriega (1-2), senior Dan Mattera (3-4) and freshman Kevin Bradley (5-6).
Although players and coaches agreed that, overall, this tournament field was not as strong as in previous years, there were some colorful matchups, starting with Peru vs. Paris.
Lima's Noriega, the No. 2-ranked college player in the country, met UC Santa Barbara's David Decret, the 200th-ranked player in the world in 1988. The international set barely managed to produce a full set. Decret, a sophomore, wore a bandage on his left thigh and moved gingerly through his 6-2 first-set loss, then suddenly retired trailing, 3-1, in the second.
UC Santa Barbara Coach Don Lowry explained that Decret aggravated a muscle Friday and tore it during his semifinal victory against USD's J.R. Edwards Saturday.
"He probably should have retired earlier," Lowry said of Decret. "It kept tightening up on him today. He couldn't put weight on it to set up his points."
Lowry said he feels Decret is capable of a top-10 collegiate ranking. One reason he entered this event was the chance to play Noriega in hopes of a high national ranking come Feb. 26, when the rankings are to be released.
"He (Decret) is very experienced," Lowry said. "But you shouldn't ever walk out on the court against a player like Noriega without being 100%."
Last year, Noriega broke his ankle in the semifinals here and was out six weeks.
"I was happy because of what happened last year," said Noriega, playing in front of his family, which is here on a two-week vacation from Lima.
The day before Mattera met Chris Toomey in their 3-4 final, Mattera said that the opponent less affected by playing a teammate would have the edge.
"Physically, we're pretty even," Mattera said. "It will come down to who can concentrate better.. . . Playing a teammate is tough."
Sunday, Mattera was seven games (6-2, 6-3) better at it than Toomey.
Both prefer to stick to the baseline, and they went furiously about proving that early on, slapping the ball back and forth until Toomey made some costly mental errors from which he couldn't recover.
Las Vegas' Bradley, on the other hand, played like a proud gambler. He is aggressive, powerful, and not afraid to take chances. USD Coach Ed Collins said Bradley is the one player who gives Noriega absolute fits in challenge matches.
But Sunday he gave plenty of fits to UC Irvine's Bill Tontz, overpowering the San Diegan, 6-0, 6-1, in 45 minutes.
The three doubles finals (1, 2 and 3) were suspended because of rain. Play will resume today.