Tech hosts USTA South Regional

Photo Courtesy of Bill Kallenberg

team hosted the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional tennis tournament. The five-day event, which began on Friday and concluded on Tuesday, featured a 64-player singles draw and a 32-team doubles draw. It was one of 16 regionals being hosted around the country last weekend, and it involved players from Division I schools in Georgia and Florida. Four Tech players entered the singles draw: sophomores Nathan Rakitt and transfer Casey Kay, as well as freshmen Carlos Benito and Cole Fiegel.

Junior Colin Edwards and sophomore Anish Sharma competed in the qualifying round for the singles draw, but did not advance.

Tech’s three pairings in the doubles draw consisted of Rakitt and Fiegel, Benito and Kay, and Edwards and Sharma.

On Saturday, the doubles team of Rakitt and Fiegel upset Georgia’s top-seeded doubles team of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland, who are ranked No. 2 in the nation by a score of 8-4. In the singles draw, Kay also achieved an upset over UGA by defeating the 5th-seeded Pieters, 6-3, 7-6. Rakitt, Benito, and Fiegel were all defeated in the round of 64,  while the pairs of Benito/Kay and Edwards/Sharma also lost their opening round matches.

Rakitt and Fiegel won again on Sunday, 8-5, over the 8th-seeded Florida pairing of Florent Diep and Michael Alford to advance to the doubles semifinals.

Meanwhile, in the singles draw, Kay lost to Florida’s Maxx Lipman in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, knocking him out of contention in the main bracket.

In the consolation bracket, Rakitt, Benito, and Fiegel each won in straight sets in the round of 32, while Rakitt and Benito were also victorious, again in straight sets, in the round of 16. Pairs Benito/Kay and Edwards/Sharma advanced to the semifinals of the consolation doubles by winning two matches on the day.

On Monday Benito punched his ticket to the singles consolation final by beating UGA’s Eric Diaz in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. Rakitt lost his consolation semifinals match in three sets, leaving the freshman Benito as the last Tech player standing in the tournament.

Benito and Kay won their consolation doubles semifinal match over a Georgia State pairing to reach the finals, where they lost to Ignacio Gonzalez and Oliver Pramming of South Florida, 8-6.

Both singles finals as well as the main doubles final were completed on Tuesday. Benito lost his consolation final to Gordon Watson of Florida in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, thus ending Tech’s presence in the tournament. He went 4-2 in singles play over the weekend and 3-2 in doubles with Kay.

Nathan Pasha of UGA won the main singles final easily over Sasha Gozun of South Florida, 6-2, 6-1, and the Florida State pairing of Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez defeated Ignacio Gonzalez and Oliver Pramming of USF, 8-2, to claim the championship.

Tech’s tennis team will be back in action on October 24th when they travel to Orlando to compete in the USTA Clay Court Invitational at Disney World. The event spans four days and will be broadcast on ESPN3.