Nov. 2, 2017
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech men’s tennis hosts the Georgia Tech Invitational this weekend, beginning on Friday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. and running through Sunday, Nov. 5. Five Yellow Jackets will participate in the tournament, including two doubles teams.
In all, six teams will be playing on The Flats this weekend, as Tech welcomes Virginia, Virginia Tech, Auburn, South Carolina and Georgia State to the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
Representing the Yellow Jackets in singles for the final tournament of the fall season will be Carlos Divar, Michael Kay, Phillip Gresk, Elijah Melendez and Brandon Freestone. The doubles teams will be Freestone and Gresk and the duo of Divar and Kay.
The field will consist of two rounds of 16 draw tournaments for singles and two elite eight draw tournaments for doubles. Each player will play at least four matches of singles and three matches of doubles throughout the weekend. Scoring will be best of three tiebreak sets in singles and an eight-game pro set with a tiebreaker at 7-all in doubles.
Admission to the three-day event is free of charge with parking available in McCamish parking lot.
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Divar had a fine performance in the ITA Southeast Regionals, going 1-1 in the main draw and moving to 5-2 this fall in singles. A part of the Jackets’ highest-seeded doubles team, Divar and Kay did well before falling in a heartbreaking tiebreaker in the quarterfinals. The 5-9 sophomore made it the main draw’s Round of 32 in the ITA All-American Championships to start 2017 after winning four-straight matches to advance out of the qualifying round. There, he outlasted Buffalo and Louisville in three-set battles as well as Tulane and Arkansas in straight-sets.
His impressive start to his sophomore season comes after a fine freshman campaign. At the four position, Divar registered a 14-9 record overall with a 13-8 mark in dual match play. Hailing from Vitoria, Spain, he also found success in doubles, reaching as high as No. 48 nationally with teammate Carlos Benito (12-9 record in dual matches).
Kay started his fall season strong by earning a main draw victory over Georgia State in the ITA Southeast Regional. Kay would fall to Florida State’s No. 4 singles player in a tough 6-4, 7-5 match. One of just four senior veterans on the 2017-18 Tech roster, the Alpharetta native registered a 7-10 singles record and a 5-8 mark in dual match doubles play last season.
Melendez earned a straight-set victory in the main draws of the ITA Southeast Regional to start things off before battling in one of the tournament’s more thrilling duals. Taking on USF’s No. 6-seeded Peter Bertran, Melendez fought back and forth but fell in the first before clawing back to take the second set, 7-6(1). Melendez couldn’t hang on to complete the comeback, falling in the third. The Suwanee native had the best showing in the pre-qualifying round of the ITA All-American Championships of any Yellow Jacket, finishing one match removed of a qualifying round entry. After a shaky start that required a come-from-behind, three-set victory against Texas A&M, Melendez was able to settle and win handily over Columbia make the Round of 64. There, the senior outlasted another three-set thriller, overcoming Middle Tennessee’s Gonzalo Raschiatore before ultimately falling to Tulane in straight-sets.
Melendez will also try to carry forward his successful junior season into his final year. The lefty finished with a 13-6 record in singles play and posted a 7-7 mark in doubles.
Gresk put on an inspiring performance at the ITA Southeast Regional. Gresk earned four-straight victories to climb out of qualifying to reach the main draw of singles play. Once in the main draw, he continued to play strong, downing Miami 6-0, 6-2 to make it to the Round of 32, where he would fall to UCF’s No. 16 seed. Gresk opened the fall schedule at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa where he was able to defeat Scott Paz of Eastern Washington in a three-set, come-from-behind battle, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. The junior ultimately fell to ACC foe Notre Dame’s Guillermo Cabrera in pre-qualifying.
The Warsaw, Poland native, returns for the Yellow Jackets after finishing 7-10 in singles and 7-8 in doubles. Gresk’s sophomore year was highlighted by a doubles title at the Georgia Tech Invitational with Cole Fiegel.
Freestone went 1-1 in his first action as a Yellow Jacket at the ITA Southeast Regional. He began the tournament by downing Miami in straight sets in qualifying. A backbreaking first-set 7-6(6) loss to Georgia State’s seventh-seeded player would end his momentum. Freestone chose to attend Georgia Tech after finishing seventh in Georgia and No. 93 nationally among seniors in high school. Hoping to carry momentum from his impressive 2017, the Roswell native notched wins over then-No. 36 senior and No. 22 junior in singles play earlier this year prior to college.