Toledo loses in final after strong tournament

Leandro Toledo was the only Gophers player to make it past the round of 16.

Minnesota sophomore Leandro Toledo plays an opponent from Drake University at the ITA Central Regional Championship on Sunday. Toledo won the match and made the final, which he lost Monday.

Ichigo Takikawa

Minnesota sophomore Leandro Toledo plays an opponent from Drake University at the ITA Central Regional Championship on Sunday. Toledo won the match and made the final, which he lost Monday.

Dane Mizutani

Two weeks ago in Oklahoma, sophomore Leandro Toledo lost in the first round of a tournament and said he knew he could’ve played better.

This week at the ITA Central Regional Championships at the Baseline Tennis Center, he proved it.

Toledo rolled through his first three matches in the tournament and followed up with two more wins to reach the finals.

He credited his serve as the biggest difference-maker in his run through the tournament.

“It was a really big weapon,” Toledo said. “My aggressive play helped a lot as well.”

In the finals, however, he lost to Guillermo Alcorta of Oklahoma 6-4, 6-1. Toledo said he thought he performed well enough to win but then missed some crucial shots in the match.

“There was some hesitation in my game in the finals, and that is the reason I missed shots,” he said.

Head coach Geoff Young said he was content with how Toledo handled himself throughout the tournament. He said his stud sophomore started his final match well but didn’t trust himself to hit his finishing shots.

“That’s just a really high level of tennis,” Young said. “But I think he made some good decisions out there.”

Besides Toledo, the rest of the team found success in the earlier rounds of the tournament, although no player made it past the third round.

Minnesota advanced all six of its qualifying competitors through the first-round matches and won three matches in the second.

Young said Mathieu Froment impressed him this weekend with his three-set win over fifth-seed Dane Webb in the second round.

Rok Bonin won his second-round match as well, but both he and Froment fell in the ensuing round.

The Gophers also won some doubles matches in the tournament, as the team of Toledo and Bonin played its way into the semifinals.

There, they lost 8-0 to Alcorta and Axel Alverez from Oklahoma.

Toledo said he and Bonin had a lot of chemistry on the court, but the semifinal loss proves there is room to grow.

Young said none of his doubles groupings have stood out to him yet.

“We have some good doubles players on our roster,” he said. “It’s just a matter of them gaining some confidence.”

While the Gophers have seen a steady contribution from a bulk of players in the fall, Young said he hasn’t thought of the lineups he will use this spring for the Big Ten season.

“That’s the last thing on my mind right now,” he said. “That usually just works itself out.”