Sept. 28, 2012
WACO, Texas - The Baylor men's tennis team will compete against some of the nation's top players as four Bears head to the ITA Men's All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., Saturday through Sun, Oct. 7.
"This tournament will be a lot of tennis for all of our guys and it is a great opportunity for all of our guys to work on the stuff we have been working on in practice," head coach Matt Knoll said. "I think the guys are excited to get out and play in a national tournament to see where they stand."
The tournament is being hosted by the University of Tulsa at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center for the sixth year in a row. The Championships will be Baylor's second event of the fall, after hosting the Baylor HEB Intercollegiate last weekend.
The tournament's singles play will includes a 256-player pre-qualifying draw that will advance 16 players into the 128-player qualifying draw where 16 spots for the 64-player main draw will be up for grabs.
"It is the biggest event of the fall in terms of having the best players," Knoll said. "It is an exciting event and if you can play well you put yourself in good position in terms of rankings for the rest of the year."
Junior Robert Verzaal, who is 2-1 on the season, will start off in the pre-qualifying draw taking place on Saturday and Sunday. He has already advanced past his first round match, after Mississippi's Joe Rogers withdrew from the event. The junior will now take on Texas A&M's ninth-seeded Alberto Bautista in the second round.
The Bears will have at least two players competing in the singles qualifying draw, Monday through Wednesday, with sophomore Marko Krickovic and freshman Julian Lenz being selected. Krickovic comes in to the tournament with a 4-1 record after advancing to the semifinals of last weekend's Baylor-HEB Intercollegiate. Lenz had a strong collegiate debut last week, advancing to the semifinals with a 4-1 record at the home event.
Seventh-ranked Mate Zsiga earned one of the 48 spots in the 64-player field and will represent the Bears in the singles main draw, Oct. 4-7. The sophomore is coming off of his second consecutive Baylor-HEB Intercollegiate singles championship, where he went 6-0 without losing a single set.
"Mate has got to go up there thinking about moving through the draw," Knoll said. "We have never had a guy win that tournament, so that would be pretty neat if we could have someone finally do that."
On the doubles side of the tournament, Baylor will be represented by the two duos of Zsiga/Lenz and Krickovic/Verzaal in the qualifying draw, Monday through Wednesday. Last weekend at the Baylor-HEB Intercollegiate, Krickovic and Verzaal advanced all the way to the doubles final to finish second with a 4-1 record, while Zsiga and Lenz made it to the semifinals, finishing with a 3-1 record.
For complete results and updated draws visit: itatennis.com.