It has been a busy week for the men’s and women’s tennis teams, with both teams sending players to the ITA All-American Championships on top of the men’s hosting of the Georgia Tech Invitational over the weekend.
Freshman Johnnise Renaud made the trip to Los Angeles as the women’s representative, while Carlos Benito, Cole Fiegel, Nathan Rakitt and Eduardo Segura flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma to participate in the men’s championship.
The four freshmen on the men’s team—Christopher Eubanks, Michael Kay, Elijah Melendez, and Daniel Yun—stayed on campus for the invitational against a field of 48 players.
Eubanks excelled in the Georgia Tech Invitational, winning the singles championship as well as the doubles championship with Kay as his partner.
Eubanks was perfect in singles play, winning his quarterfinals match against Auburn’s Petar Tomic 6-4, 7-5, besting Georgia Southern’s Ristomatti Lanne 7-5, 7-6(2) in the semis and defeating Eduardo Alfonzo from Florida Gulf Coast 6-3, 6-4 to capture the title. He automatically advanced past the first round after his opponent withdrew due to illness.
“I was a little bit on edge after not playing Friday, but I felt like I played better and better as the tournament went on,” said Eubanks, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “In the semi-finals match, I didn’t start off well, but I stayed confident and felt like everything would work out. My confidence grew as the match went on, and it carried through to the finals.”
The doubles matches had much closer scores, as the pairing of Eubanks and Kay went to tiebreakers on two of their three matches and had to overcome some potentially costly mistakes.
They won their first match 8-3, and then defeated Auburn’s team of Tomic and Dante Saleh 8-7, winning the tiebreaker 7-4. In the finals, they went to tiebreakers again to beat Georgia State’s pairing of Zack Kennedy and Sofianne Chevallier and win the title.
“I didn’t feel like it was a well-executed match for either team in the championship match,” said Thorne, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “But our success for the season will depend on how we handle ourselves on days like that. For them to get that win was important.”
The Tech pairing of Melendez and Yun was defeated in their first match. Elsewhere in singles, Kay won his first match before losing to runner-up Alfonzo, while Yun and Melendez both lost in the opening round.
At the men’s All-American Championship, Segura was eliminated in the final round of the singles pre-qualification draw. However, his week did not end there, as he and Benito, the No. 20 doubles pairing in the country, began playing in the main doubles draw on Thursday after press time. On Monday, Rakitt was defeated in his first match of the singles qualifying draw in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. However, his week was not over yet as he and Fiegel won their first match of the doubles qualifying draw, 6-4, 7-5, against a Louisiana State pairing on Tuesday. They were set to take on a team from North Carolina State in the next round after press time.
For the women, Renaud was eliminated in her first match at the All-American Championship at the hands of Georgia Freshman Mariana Gould.
Renaud won the first set, but Gould took the next two to seal the deal.
After the championships, the men will be back in action beginning October 16th at the Southeast Regional, while the women will compete in the Bulldog Tennis Classic starting on October 10th. Both events will be held in Athens, Georgia.