Sept. 27, 2014
THE FLATS – Freshman Christopher Eubanks won a pair of singles matches and his doubles contest Saturday and has advanced to the winners-bracket final in both brackets of the Georgia Tech Invitational at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
Eubanks, from Atlanta, won both singles matches in straight sets, dispatching Auburn’s Petar Tomic, 6-4, 7-5, in the quarterfinals and Georgia Southern’s Ristomatti Lanne, 7-5, 7-6 (2) in the semifinals. He is set to face Eduardo Alfonzo of Florida Gulf Coast, who defeated Tech’s Michael Kay in the quarterfinals earlier in the day, in the championship match at 10 a.m. Sunday.
“Chris stayed in control well in both matches, playing the way he needs to play,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “He needs to continue to stay loose and focus on his game only.”
Elijah Melendez, who lost a three-set match in his opening round Friday, advanced to the finals in the main consolation bracket Saturday, first whipping Manuel Castellanos of Kennesaw State, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, then defeating UAB’s Matt Hill, 6-4, 6-0. He faces Lucas Vaz of Florida Gulf Coast at 10 a.m. Sunday.
“He played his games out today and did it with a positive attitude, and that’s what we’re looking for,” said Thorne. “Daniel and Michael didn’t execute well today. They both are fighting and trying to find ways to win when they don’t play well. They’ll figure it out.”
Kay and Daniel Yun wound up dropping both their consolation matches on Saturday, and each has a final backdraw match scheduled for Sunday.
Both of Tech’s doubles teams advanced to the finals in the winner’s and loser’s brackets’ in their respective draws, and both will face teams from Georgia State at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Eubanks and Kay were taken to the limit by Auburn’s Dante Saleh and Petar Tomic, but won 8-7 after outstating the Tiger duo in a tiebreaker, 7-4. They’ll face Georgia State’s Sofianne Chevallier and Zack Kennedy in the White draw championship match. Melendez and Yun shook off Friday’s loss to reach the consolation finals in the Gold draw, beating Furman’s Jacob Behal and Stefan Rhodes, 8-5. They face the Panthers’ Chinmay Handa and Valentin Horvat.
“Michael and Chris played another good match today, very solid,” Thorne added. “They did a great job pulling out their tiebreaker.”
Finals in all draws will be played Sunday, doubles beginning at 9 a.m. and singles at 10 a.m. The Georgia Tech Invitational uses a compass draw to give each player an opportunity to play four matches. The Tech tournament has 48 players divided into three singles draws (White, Gold and Buzz) and three doubles draws (White, Gold and Buzz). At the end of each round, the winners will continue in their draw in the same direction, while the losers move to other points on the compass to form a new satellite tournament (see link to draws above).
ITA ALL-AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS PRE-QUALIFYING
Eduardo Segura won twice Saturday in the pre-qualification draw at the Saint Francis Health Systems ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., advancing to the third round Sunday. Players in pre-qualifying draw must win four matches, two Saturday and two Sunday, to advance to the qualifying draw that starts Monday.
Segura, a senior from Madrid, Spain, defeated Cahit Kapukiran of George Washington, 6-0, 7-5, 6-2, in the opening round, then got past Julian Bradley of North Florida, 6-3, 6-2.
Carlos Benito, a sophomore from Madrid, defeated Alp Horoz of Northwestern, 6-4, 7-5, but dropped a three-set match, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, to Jao Chi-Shan of Tulane in the second round. Cole Fiegel failed to get out of the first round Saturday and lost to David Fox of Denver, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Benito and Fiegel are not done totally in the event. Benito and Segura are the 20th-ranked doubles team in America and are in the main draw for doubles which begins Thursday. Fiegel and junior teammate Nathan Rakitt are in the double qualifying draw that begins Monday, while Rakitt, ranked 76th in the country, also is in the qualifying draw for singles.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S TENNIS
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team is in its 17th year under head coach Kenny Thorne. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Championship 14 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.