March 21, 2013
THE FLATS – Looking to shake off a pair of close losses to open the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule last weekend, Georgia Tech returns home to face 28th-ranked Wake Forest and No. 45 NC State this weekend at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
The Yellow Jackets (7-8, 0-2 ACC) meet the Demon Deacons (12-5, 1-1) at 2 p.m. Friday and the Wolfpack (7-6, 1-1) at 12 noon Sunday. Admission is free, and parking is available in the McCamish Pavilion (enter from 10th St.) and O’Keefe Gym (enter from 6th St.) lots. Fans should be aware that Fowler Street will be closed for re-paving.
Tech lost a pair of 4-3 decisions last weekend to No. 28 Florida State at home and No. 70 Miami on the road. Head coach Kenny Thorne made a switch at the top of the order, switching seniors Juan Melian and Juan Spir. Spir (Medellin, Colombia), 84th in the latest ITA rankings, won both his matches, while Melian (Las Palmas, Spain) defeated No. 89 Dominic Cotrone of FSU in straight sets but lost the deciding match to Miami in three sets.
Melian has performed well this spring, posting an 8-4 record in dual matches, and won six straight decisions before the loss to Miami’s Gabriel Flores. Spir struggled early in the No. spot but has gone 3-0 at No. 2.
Freshman Nathan Rakitt (Marietta, Ga.), who won both his matches last weekend, has also played well for the Yellow Jackets, compiling a team-high 18 singles wins and a 9-3 dual match record while playing No. 4 in the lineup. The rest of the lineup has been sophomore Eduardo Segura (Madrid, Spain) at No. 3, and freshman Anish Sharma (Alpharetta, Ga.) at No. 5. Freshman Garrett Gordon (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomore Colin Edwards (Valrico, Fla.) have manned the No. 6 spot.
Thorne has had to juggle both the singles and doubles lineups because of a knee injury to sophomore Vikram Hundal (Alpahretta, Ga.), who had played the No. 3 spot and paired with Spir to become the No. 3-ranked doubles team in the nation. Melian and Rakitt (8-3 this spring) have taken over the No. 1 position in doubles, while Spir has partnered with Segura at No. 2, winning their last two matches.