Sept. 30, 2010
WACO, TX - Over the next week, the Baylor men's tennis team will face some of the country's top players as five Bears travel to the D'Novo/ITA Men's All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., Oct. 2-10.
"I think it is the same old story; this tournament will give our players a lot of matches," head coach Matt Knoll said. "We are excited to get up there and see how things go. I think it is going to be a great challenge for us. We are going to see a lot of quality players, and we will benefit from it."
The Championships will be Baylor's third fall event and are the first ITA national event of the year. The tournament is being hosted by the University of Tulsa at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center for the fourth straight year.
The tournament's singles action includes a 256-player pre-qualifying draw that will feed 16 players into a 128-player qualifying draw, in which 16 spots for the 64-player main draw will be up for grabs. Pre-qualifying will take place Oct. 2-3 with Baylor's Julian Bley and Sergio Ramirez looking to win four matches to advance to the qualifying draw.
Bley will be looking to improve on a 3-1 record, while Ramirez is 4-3 this season. In last weekend's HEB Baylor Men's Invitational, Bley reached the quarterfinals before being knocked out by fellow Bear Roberto Maytin. Ramirez lost his first round match last weekend, but went on to win two consolation matches before falling in the consolation semifinals contest.
The Bears will also have two players starting in the qualifying draw as Maytin and Kike Grangeiro were two of the 63 at-large selections to that draw. Maytin (4-1) made a trip to the semifinals of last weekend's Baylor Invitational, before bowing out to Arthur Surreaux of New Mexico State. Grangeiro was defeated in round of 16 play and enters the Championships with a 2-1 record. The qualifying draw will begin on Mon., Oct. 4.
"These guys in the pre-qualifier and the qualifier can hopefully get hot and make it all the way through to the main draw," Knoll said. "That would be a great situation, and they would play a ton of matches, which would be amazing for our guys."
Baylor will have at least one competitor in the singles main draw as 28th-ranked John Peers earned one of 22 at-large selections into the 64-player field. The senior from Melbourne, Australia, is 3-1 on the season after advancing to the quarterfinals in Waco last weekend. The main draw will start on Thurs., Oct. 7.
Highlighting this year's singles field is top seed John-Patrick Smith of the University of Tennessee and the rest of the ITA's preseason top 10 including Henrique Cunha of Duke, Bradley Klahn of Stanford, Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech, Chase Buchanan of Ohio State, Michael Shabaz of Virginia, Steve Johnson of Southern California, Eric Quigley of Kentucky, Alex Lacroix of Florida and Austen Childs of Louisville.
Baylor's lone doubles duo in the event, Maytin and Peers, who are ranked 57th in the preseason listings, will start in the 64-team qualifying draw. As a tandem, Maytin and Peers are 5-0 on the young season after winning the 2010 HEB Baylor Men's Invitational doubles title. The pair will need to win three matches in order to be one of the eight teams to advance from qualifying to the main draw. Doubles play will begin Tues., Oct. 5.
The doubles field includes Duke's top-ranked duo of Cunha and Reid Carleton, who were named the 2010 Campbell/ITA Men's Doubles Team of the Year.
"It is a national event, and we are a national program, so we need to play these kind of tournaments," Knoll said. "We are training really hard right now, so our guys really aren't at a stage where they are necessarily prepared to play their best tennis, but we hope they can work on the stuff they are doing in practice and continue to improve."
Last year at this event, Bley was ousted in the first round of the qualifying draw, while his teammate Attila Bucko fell in second round qualifying play. Jordan Rux lost in the second round of the main draw.
For complete results and updated draws visit:here.
For live results of each match visit: here.