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Tennis

Familiar Faces Advance at Santa Barbara Tennis Open

Top seeds Stefan Menichella, Natalie Da Silveira move forward in both singles and doubles competition

Stefan Menichella returns a backhand during a doubles match on Saturday afternoon at the Santa Barbara Tennis Open. Click to view larger
Stefan Menichella returns a backhand during a doubles match on Saturday afternoon at the Santa Barbara Tennis Open. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Having grown up playing tennis in Santa Barbara, both Stefan Menichella and Natalie Da Silveira felt right at home competing in the Santa Barbara Tennis Open on Saturday afternoon at the Municipal Tennis Courts.

Andrew Tufenkian serves a ball during a singles match on Saturday afternoon at the Municipal tennis courts. Click to view larger
Andrew Tufenkian serves a ball during a singles match on Saturday afternoon at the Municipal tennis courts. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Menichella, a former age-group star from the local area who plays for Pepperdine, took advantage of his experience level and sheer talent to advance into the semifinals of the men's doubles and quarterfinals of the men's singles competition.

“Growing up here, I was always playing tournaments at this venue and I really got a strong feel for the tennis community in Santa Barbara,” Menichella said. “This place has always felt like my home crowd and I really enjoy seeing familiar faces, having fun while competing.”

In singles play, the 6-5 right-hander easily took care Chris McBride 6-0, 6-0 during the round of 16 to advance into Sunday’s quarterfinals. 

Later in the day, Menichella paired up with former Santa Barbara High standout Spencer Simon in the men's open doubles tournament. Together, the dynamic duo topped Alexander Dill and Elliot Markowitz 6-0, 6-1 before defeating Emerson Sekban and Andrew Tufenkian 6-2, 6-2. 

“I played well and was trying to play aggressive in order to create good habits early on in the tournament,” added Menichella. “Recently, Spencer and me had a great win in San Diego (USTA National Hard Courts) and we’re obviously hoping to bring home another title in doubles.”

As for Da Silveira, the UCSB singles player dominated short rallies on Saturday to advance into the championship match in both the women’s singles and mixed doubles competitions.  

“Honestly, I haven’t been playing much since our season ended but I did well considering those were my first competitive matches of the summer,” commented Da Silveira. “I’m excited to go out there tomorrow and have fun.”

After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, the São Paulo, Brazil native topped Ashley Daily 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinal round. With the victory, Da Silveira slotted herself into Sunday’s championship match at 8:30 a.m. 

In doubles competition, she teamed up with fellow Gaucho Nathan Eshmade. During their only match on the day, the UCSB pair displayed brilliant chemistry while defeating Aaron Webster and Lisa Couvillion 6-0, 6-1. 

Also tallying a solid performance on Saturday was recent Westmont graduate Lauren Stratman. The former Dos Pueblos star advanced into Sunday’s championship match against Da Silveira with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kyla Jarrar. 

COMPLETE TOURNAMENT RESULTS

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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