Oct. 1, 2010
ATLANTA – All-American Guillermo Gomez is entered in the main draw, and seven other Georgia Tech players are entered in qualifying and pre-qualifying rounds of the D’Novo Men’s ITA All-American Tennis Championships, the first national singles and doubles titles of the 2010-11 collegiate tennis season.
The tournament include six rounds of prequalifying and qualifying matches beginning Saturday, October 2, 2010. The D’Novo/ITA Men’s All-American Championships, hosted by the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla. for the fourth straight year.
Tech head coach Kenny Thorne had only three players in the various stages of this event last year, and this year has eight of its nine players entered in singles, and three doubles teams are in the qualification portion of the event.
“It was nice to get eight players into the All-American tournament,” said Thorne. “We have good depth on this team and the guys deserve a chance to play for an individual national title. All the best players in the country will be there so it is a great test to see how we stack up.”
Gomez, ranked fourth nationally in singles by the ITA, is entered in the main draw, which begins Thursday, Oct. 7, by virtue of his high ranking. The senior from Alicante, Spain, who has played in the NCAA Singles Championship all three of his years at Tech, won the Southern Intercollegiate Championship singles title last week. He reached the finals in the D’Novo/ITA Men’s All-American Championships last year.
“Guillermo has worked hard on his fitness this year so working through tournaments should be a strength for him,” said Thorne of his All-American. “It showed in working through the last tournament. He felt great physically afterwards. He will be ready to fight through another one.
Eliot Potvin, a senior from Hampden, Maine, and Kevin King, a junior from Peachtree City, Ga., are entered in the qualifying portion of the event, which begins Monday, Oct. 4. Potvin, who lost in the round of 32 in last week’s SIC, is ranked No. 70 nationally in singles, while King, an All-ACC selection last spring, is ranked No. 80. King lost in the round of 16 at the SIC.
Potvin made it through three pre-qualifying rounds in this event last year before losing to NC State’s Jaime Pulgar in the first qualifying round.
Dean O’Brien, a senior from Benmore, South Africa who lost in the first round of qualifying in last year’s D’Novo/ITA All-American, is in the pre-qualification draw, which begins Saturday, along with junior Dusan Miljevic and sophomores Juan Spir and Magin Ortiga.
Spir enjoyed the best run, besides Gomez winning the championship, in last week’s SIC, reaching the quarterfinals of the top singles draw before falling to 20th-ranked Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt.
“We have Magin, Juan, Dean and Dusan playing in the pre-qualifying tournament and that will require winning a lot of matches to advance,” added Thorne. “They have all played better this fall and it showed in results for some this past tournament but not all. They need to keep doing what they are doing and they can all break through. Eliot and Kevin will be playing in the qualifying tournament and both have a great opportunity ahead of them to break into the top tier of college players in this tournament.”
Tech has two doubles teams ranked in the nation’s top 60. King and Spir, ranked No. 60, reached the finals of the SIC last weekend and lost in a tiebreaker in the championship match. Potvin and Smith are ranked 43rd. Gomez and O’Brien are the Jackets’ third doubles team entered this weekend.
“I am looking forward to also seeing how we stack up in doubles because I feel we have three very good teams,” said Thorne. “They all will be in the qualifying tournament with very good opportunities to advance. Ryan will be coming in to play doubles with Eliot and they have good experience as a team. This tournament is simply a great way to break into the individual rankings and set yourself up for the spring.”
Highlighting this year’s men’s singles field is top seed John-Patrick Smith of the University of Tennessee, who last year became only the third player in history and the first since 1998 to win both the singles and doubles titles at the ITA All-American Championships. Smith, who finished the 2010 spring campaign ranked No. 2 in the Campbell/ITA Singles Rankings and No. 3 in the Campbell/ITA Doubles Rankings, moves up one spot to reclaim the top spot that he held for nearly half of last season, becoming the first Vol since Chris Woodruff in 1993 to achieve such a feat.
Past ITA All-American champions include current professionals Benjamin Becker (Baylor), James Blake (Harvard), Bob and Mike Bryan (Stanford), John Isner (Georgia) and Kevin Kim (UCLA).