Oct. 16, 2014
Athens, Ga. – Georgia Tech will have just four players in the main draw of singles beginning Friday in the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., after four others were unable to get through Thursday’s qualifying draw.
Sophomores Carlos Benito and Cole Fiegel and freshmen Elijah Melendez and Daniel Yun all captured straight-set wins Thursday morning in the opening round of qualifying, but all lost in the second round Thursday afternoon. Veterans Eduardo Segura and Nathan Rakitt, as well as freshmen Christopher Eubanks and Michael Kay, begin competition in the main draw Friday afternoon.
Segura, a senior from Madrid, Spain, is off to a 9-1 start this fall, winning the Division II singles draw at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships and winning three qualifying matches at the ITA All-American Championships in September. Rakitt, a junior from Marietta, is ranked 76th in the nation in singles. Eubanks, from Atlanta, has a 5-1 mark this fall and won the main draw of the Georgia Tech Invitational, while Kay, also from Atlanta, is 5-3.
In the opening round of qualifying Thursday, Melendez (Suwanee, Ga.) downed Eric Baum of Georgia State, 6-2, 6-3, but lost to Stetson’s Laurynas Antropikas in three sets. Yun took a 6-3, 6-4 win over Mercer’s Manuel de Luis, then lost to Georgia’s Eric Diaz in straight sets. Benito was a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Kian Mclean of Florida Atlantic in the morning, but lost in three sets to Georgia’s Peter Bertran in the afternoon. Likewise, Fiegel won 6-2, 6-1 over Mercer’s Arsav Mohanty in the first round, then dropped a three-set decision to Florida’s Oliver Landert in the second round.
“We weren’t pushed in the first round of matches. We did a good job of getting in front and staying there,” said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. “We got off to good starts in the second round, winning first sets in three of the four matches. But when they matched us, we didn’t answer. We are better than that. Competition is getting tougher, and we need to embrace that.”
Tech has four doubles teams entered, including the nation’s 20th-ranked team of Benito and Segura. Eubanks and Rakitt, with a 4-1 mark this fall, are also paired together as are Fiegel and Kay (2-1) and Melendez and Yun (3-2). They all had byes in the round of 64 conducted Thursday night and will begin action in the round of 32 Friday.
“We’ll start again tomorrow with doubles for everyone and singles for four guys,” said Thorne. “We’re just looking for guys to play big points and games with a deep belief that things are going to go well.”
The Southeast regional gathers 64 of the top collegiate men’s players and 64 of the top doubles teams from Georgia and Florida for the five-day event that concludes with finals in both draws Monday morning. The tournament features participants from the following 15 schools: Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Miami, North Florida, South Florida, Stetson and UCF.
No-ad scoring will be in place for both singles and doubles. In doubles competition, matches prior to the semifinals will consist of an 8-game pro set (tiebreak at 7-all), with the semifinals and finals doubles matches consisting of two out of three sets (to 6) with a match tiebreak in lieu of the third set.