March 15, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech will get a couple of stern tests to open Atlantic Coast Conference play by hosting 28th-ranked Florida State in a 2:30 p.m. match Friday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex, then visiting Miami in a 12 noon match Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla.
The Seminoles (12-3) are the highest-ranked team to visit Tech since No. 6 Georgia on Feb. 8, and are on a spring break trip which first took them to No. 7 Oklahoma Wednesday, where they upset the Sooners, 4-2. The Yellow Jackets (7-6) have not played since beating William & Mary, 4-1, last Thursday.
The teams have one common opponent, Mercer, whom both teams defeated, 7-0. Admission to Friday’s match is free, and parking is available In the McCamish Pavilion (E65) and O’Keefe Gym (E65) lots, as well as the Family Housing Deck (E66).
Following Friday’s match, the Yellow Jackets travel South to face Miami, ranked No. 70 with a 9-4 record this spring. The Hurricanes are opening their conference slate against the Jackets. The teams have one common opponent, North Florida, whom the Yellow Jackets defeated, 6-1, on Feb. 16. UM lost to the Ospreys, 5-2, a week later.
Tech is getting solid play of late from senior Juan Melian, playing No. 2 for the Tech is getting solid play of late from senior Juan Melian, playing No. 2 for the Yellow Jackets, and freshman Nathan Rakitt, playing No. 4 Melian, from Las Palmas, Spain, has won six of his last seven matches (one unfinished) to improve to 7-3 this spring and 16-9 overall, the best record percentage-wise on the team. Rakitt, from Marietta, Ga., has won three of his last four, has an identical 7-3 spring mark and is tied with melian for the team lead in singles wins (16-10 record).
Sophomore Eduardo Segura (Madrid, Spain) also has played well, building a 7-5 mark while splitting time between the 3-4-5 positions, most recently settling into the No. 3 spot after sophomore Vikram Hundal (Alpahretta, Ga.) injured his knee.
Hundal’s absence has forced head coach Kenny Thorne to shuffle his singles lineup and doubles pairings. Segura and Rakitt have both moved up in singles, while freshman Anish Sharma (3-8) and sophomore Colin Edwards (2-1) have moved into the bottom two positions.
For the William & Mary match, Thorne re-paired Juan Spir and Segura, who began the fall playing together and produced a 2-2 record before Spir hooked up with Hundal to win the NCAA Southeast Regional. Melian and Rakitt have won six of eight matches together this spring playing No. 2, while Edwards and freshman Garrett Gordon played in the third position.