Men's Tennis Sends Three to Battle in the Bay Classic

Kento Tanaka-Tamaki

Oct. 9, 2013


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MALIBU, Calif. - Three representatives from the Pepperdine men’s tennis team are heading to San Francisco to compete in the Battle in the Bay Classic, including David Sofaer, Kento Tanaka-Tamaki and Stefan Menichella.

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BATTLE IN THE BAY CLASSIC - The Waves head back to the Battle in the Bay Classic for the fourth-straight year in 2013. This year’s field showcases top talent from USC, Stanford, Duke, UCLA, Cal, San Diego, Boise State, San Diego State, Cal Poly, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s and Pacific.

BBC HISTORY - David Sofaer won the doubles championship at the 2011 Battle in the Bay Classic, alongside then-senior Hugh Clarke. Clarke would also finish runner up in the singles draw, while Sofaer placed second in the consolation singles bracket. The year before Jenson Turner won the consolation singles bracket.

NOTING PEPPERDINE - David Sofaer ranked third on the team last season with 23 total singles wins ... Sofaer also earned a team-high 18 doubles wins alongside Mousheg Hovhannisyan ... Kento Tanaka-Tamaki posted five wins in singles in limited appearances last year ... Stefan Menichella, a blue chip recruit out of Santa Barbara, Calif., will play his first official matches as a Wave.

PROMISING YOUTH - The 2013-14 recruiting class comprised of Californians Alex Giannini, Stefan Menichella and Alexander Solonin ranked in at #2 on’s list of Top Mid-Major Men’s Classes. Since that list was released, Pepperdine also added Rakshay Thakkar, an experienced player from Pune, India.

LOOKING BACK - Senior Alex Sarkissian opened the season for the Waves at the ITA All-American Championship in Tulsa, Okla. Although he fell in close 6-4, 6-4 decision in the first round to a top-10 ranked opponent, Sarkissian stormed back in consolation. He earned three victories -- two vs. top-30 players -- to advance to the semifinal round.

LOOKING AHEAD - Next up, the Waves host the annual USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championship on Oct. 18-22 on the courts of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. The event will bring in teams from throughout the region, all fighting for rankings and a spot at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship in November.

RETURNERS - Five student-athletes, three of which who were regulars in last year’s lineup, return in 2013-14. Headlining the list is returning ITA All-American Alex Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC) and Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State). Sarkissian and Alcantara held down the No. 2 and No. 4 positions in the singles lineup. Also returning is David Sofaer (Bellevue Hill, Australia/Sydney Distance Education HS), a mainstay at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles.  Kento Tanaki-Tamaki (Kihei, Hawaii/St. Anthony Junior-Senior HS) and Damian Gryzelko (London, England/Saddlebrook Prep School) are also back after making a handful of appearances during the 2013 dual season. 

NEWCOMERS - Four freshman players were added to the roster this season, including a trio from California. The local products include Alex Giannini, (Los Angeles, Calif./Gorman Learning Center), Stefan Menichella, (Santa Barbara, Calif./University HS) and Alexander Solonin (Tarzana, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS), while Rakshay Thakkar (Pune, India/St. Vincent’s HS) comes to Malibu from India.

Adam Steinberg - Now in his 12th season as head coach of the Waves, Adam Steinberg boasts career record of 303-155 including a 173-76  mark at Pepperdine. Since setting foot on the Malibu campus in 2003, Steinberg has captured seven WCC conference championships, seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and an NCAA Championship crown in 2006. He has tutored 16 Waves to All-American status, and has been named WCC Coach of the Year seven times.  Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Steinberg served as the head coach at Alabama and St. John’s for five seasons apiece. 

ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports – one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat – and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



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