Sept. 10, 2015
THE FLATS – With eight letterwinners back from an NCAA Tournament team, Georgia Tech begins its 18th year under head coach Kenny Thorne in the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens, Ga., the oldest collegiate tennis event in the South, this weekend at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
The event begins Friday and continues through Monday, when the championship matches in singles and doubles will be held.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech returns eight of nine letterwinners from its 2015 NCAA Tournament team that finished the spring 14-13 and reached the semifinals of the ACC Championship. The lone loss was senior Eduardo Segura, Tech’s leader in singles victories. Among the returnees, however, are senior Nathan Rakitt (Marietta, Ga.), juniors Carlos Benito (Madrid, Spain) and Cole Fiegel (Alachua, Fla.) and sophomores Christopher Eubanks (Atlanta, Ga.) and Michael Kay (Alpharetta, Ga.), who combined for 109 of the Yellow Jackets’ combined 159 individual singles victories last year. Also back are another pair of sophomore in Elijah Melendez (Suwanee, Ga.) and Daniel Yun (Marietta, Ga.), who won 21 matches between them in limited roles. Head coach Kenny Thorne recruited a pair of freshmen in Phillip Gresk of Warsaw, Poland and Andrew Li of Hong Kong.
Eubanks, Kay and Fiegel enjoyed successful summers on different fronts. Eubanks made the singles and doubles draws for the BB&T Atlanta Open, where he and Donald Young won their first two doubles matches before falling to world No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan in the semifinals. Kay reached the finals of two key U.S. Open qualifiers and won two matches the ITA National Collegiate Summer Championships in singles, while also getting to the doubles finals at the ITA Nationals. Fiegel won an ITA Summer Series event in Tallahassee, Fla.
SINGLES UPDATE – Eubanks is seeded third and Rakitt 10th in the top singles bracket in the SIC. Eubanks faces Arkansas’ Santiago Munoz in the opening round Friday morning, while Rakitt takes on Clemson’s Christian Harris. Michael Kay opens against the Razorbacks’ Jose Salazar, while Fiegel faces Dominik Haider of Barry University and Li meets Lucas Cerin of Armstrong State.
In Division II, Melendez is paired against Winthrop’s Josh Ryan, Yun against Virginia Tech’s Aaron Gomez, and Casey Kay against Kennesaw State’s Alejandro Valencia.
DOUBLES UPDATE – For this weekend, Thorne has kept together some doubles teams that played most of Tech’s dual match schedule last spring, including Fiegel and Rakitt, who went 11-7 last year, Eubanks and Michael Kay, who were 15-11, and Melendez and Yun, who were 6-5. Casey Kay will team up with Li for the Yellow Jackets’ fourth doubles team this weekend. Benito, who played most of his doubles matches with the graduated Segura, a fellow Spaniard, is sidelined with an injury this weekend and will not play either singles or doubles.
HEAD COACH Kenny Thorne SAYS – “Compared to last fall, we were trying to assimilate four new freshmen. This fall, three of our four doubles teams have already played together. It’ll be good to see these guys playing both singles and doubles. Most of them know what to expect and have played this tournament before, and can establish themselves in the fall. We haven’t had an official team practice yet, but we’ve had individual lessons (allowed by NCAA rules). Most all of the guys have played all summer, which is important.”
THE SIC FIELD – The 2015 tournament features 174 participants from 28 schools: Arkansas, Armstrong State, Barry, Clemson, College of Charleston, Columbus State, Davidson, East Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, Georgia, Georgia College, Georgia Gwinnett, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Lander, Liberty, Lipscomb, Memphis, Mercer, Mississippi State, Saint Leo, Stetson, Tennessee Tech, Virginia Tech and Winthrop.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT – The field will be divided into three singles divisions and two doubles divisions, and there will be a champion from each division. Two rounds of consolation matches will be played for first round losers in singles, but no doubles consolation. No-ad scoring will be in place for both singles and doubles.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S TENNIS
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team is beginning its 18th year under head coach Kenny Thorne. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Championship 15 times. Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_MTEN). For more information on Tech men’s tennis, visit Ramblinwreck.com.