Oct. 20, 2012
Tallahassee, Fla. – Juan Spir, Juan Melian and Vikram Hundal each won their first-round matches in singles Friday at the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional, while Spir and Hundal reached the quarterfinals of the doubles draw.
In all, Tech captured three singles matches and four doubles matches Friday, with three players still alive in the singles main draw and one doubles team remaining. Spir and Hundal, the top-seeded doubles team in this event, each won three times Friday and remain alive in both draws.
“I like the tournament format we play in the fall because it allows any player to break out and win a big event,” said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. “You are playing against all the best competition as long as you win.”
Spir, Tech’s two-time All-American from Medellin, Colombia, captured his singles match, 6-3, 6-4, over Casey Kay of Georgia. The No. 2 seed in the regional, Spir takes on Juan Acuna of South Florida Saturday afternoon.
Hundal, a sophomore from Alpharetta, Ga., defeated Ravi Patel of South Florida in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, in the singles draw, moving into a second-round match against Georgia’s Nathan Pasha Saturday afternoon. Melian, a senior from Las Palmas, Spain, needed three sets but upset seeded Jordi Vives of Florida Gulf Coast, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7).
Tech’s two freshmen both lost in the singles main draw, Garrett Gordon to Hernus Pieters of Georgia, 6-4, 6-3, and Nathan Rakitt to North Florida’s Moritz Buercher, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Another freshman, Anish Sharma, won a singles consolation match, 6-3, 6-2, over Jack Murphy of Miami.
“Juan and Vikram played solid matches today and both had fairly routine matches,” said Thorne. “Juan Melian upset a seed today and continued playing well like he has done the past few weeks in practice. He lifted his game at key times and stuck with his game even when things weren’t looking great. He was down 3-4 15-40 in the third and he served his way back into the match. He is a competitor and he is showing how tough he is to beat.
“Our two freshmen fought well and lost to a couple of not-necessarily better players, but more experienced players. The showed signs of competing at the level we need them to compete. They will get more and more comfortable with their games as they get more matches in. Anish also won a solid backdraw match so we are competing well.”
Refreshed with a first-round bye, Spir and Hundal blanked both of their opponents, 8-0, Friday in doubles, defeating Chidi Gabriel and Admire Oshunga of Florida A&M and Will Oliver and Smith of Georgia. The top-seeded team now faces Benjamin Lock and Dominic Cotrone of Florida State, the seventh seed, Saturday.
Meanwhile, Melian and Nathan Rakitt won twice Friday, downing Alex Toliver and Alexander Pena of Kennesaw State, 8-3, and Marco Stancati and Wilfredo Gonzalez of Miami, 8-5. They were stopped in the round of 16, however, by Lock and Cotrone in a close match, 8-6. Tech’s freshman pair of Garrett Gordon and Anish Sharma, after a first-round bye, fell 8-0 to Jordan Kelly-Houston and Anderson Reed of Florida State.
“Juan and Vikram did something I haven’t seen in my time here at Georgia Tech: they won back to back 8-0 matches. That is not easy to do,” said Thorne. “But a win is a win, and they have a tough match to get ready for tomorrow. Nathan and Juan Melian lost a tough one after winning two good doubles matches. They are doing well and will be a very good doubles team for us.”
The USTA/ITA Southeast Regional runs through Monday, when championship matches will be played. The champions of the singles and doubles draws at the regional championships will advance to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships Nov. 8-11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.