Sept. 13, 2017
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By Kelechi Onunka | Special to UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - The UT Arlington men's and women's squads will open up the fall season with plenty of new talent going into the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational in Midland, Texas starting Sept. 15.
Both teams are hoping to get the fall season started with deep runs into the tournament-style bracket, with individuals and doubles teams split between different flights to be drawn prior to Friday morning. Competing for the women will be Anna Wichert, Agustina Serio, Carla Cerdan Vives and Nanaka Takeuchi, while the men's side will include Guanarteme Nuez, Mauricio Del Rio, Eduard Simo, Andre Russo and Sansidh Kommaraju.
"Midland is a great tournament to start with, it is always one of the best tournaments that we start with, it is a great country club and the setting is amazing, it is just a really high-quality tournament," UTA coach Diego Benitez said. "I think it will be a great test for the newcomers to see how they handle a new type of pressure. I am very happy in the way they have been playing, they have adapted to the conditions and the type of court very smoothly and rapidly. Let's see how they adjust and compete with the nerves of their first tournament."
Two of the three returners for the women include Serio, who enters the season with 61 singles wins and 58 doubles wins. She is currently on pace to approach Maverick all-time history marks. Wichert reached the NCAA Doubles Championship last season. Both girls are looking forward to getting the team together and building a strong chemistry for the upcoming campaign.
"They have a great lead from our returnees," Benitez said of the women's side. "The leaders of the team are stepping up and are playing really good tennis and came back in really good shape so we are really optimistic about it.
"The most important that that (Agustina) knows that she will have to be big, she knows that she will have to step up. She has done great already and through the years, but we are looking for her to play higher in the lineup. She earned the title of captain of the team and she is embracing the responsibilities that are landing on her. She is a great player and has every shot in the book. I really expect for her to have a great fall season."
Serio's current winning percentage of .744 in singles is second in the Maverick’s record books behind Maria Martinez-Romer who has a winning percentage of .765. With two singles wins, Serio will enter the Mavericks all-time top 10.
The men’s squad is looking forward to showcasing their newcomers this season. Enrique Pardo, one of the new coming players, transferred in from Tyler Junior College. Pardo comes in with plenty of accolades and hopes to help improve the men’s record from last season.
"On the guy's side, with Guanarteme and Mauricio already winning championship in the Sun Belt a few years ago, they have the experience and know what it takes to win a championship and know its not easy," Benitez said. "They are really communicating with the newcomers and they will be a pinnacle part of our success."
Last season both teams opened the campaign with good outcomes from the Midland Invitational. The men's major highlight came from now Del Rio and former Mav Jhonathan Gonzalez, who upset the Rice team of Tommy Bennett and David Warren, who were ranked No. 8 at the time.
Furthermore, Nuez made it to the Round of 16 before falling to Auburn’s Olle Thestrup.
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