TALLAHASEE, Fla. – After a string of three tournaments in three weeks to start out the fall season, the FGCU men’s tennis team returns from a two and a half week break on Thursday when it sends nine players to the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Championships hosted by Florida State Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
Representing the Southeast Region along with FGCU is host Florida State, Georgia, Florida, Georgia Tech, Miami, USF, Florida A&M, North Florida, UCF, FAU, Kennesaw State, Stetson, Georgia State and Georgia Southern.
The five-day event will feature a singles main draw, a doubles main draw and a consolation singles draw. Thursday will open will open with 36 players vying for eight open spots in the singles main draw, which will begin on Friday along with the doubles main draw.
FGCU, who took home both the singles and doubles title at its own Fall Classic just two weeks ago, will send a total of nine players into the singles draw with six having to advance through Thursday’s qualifying rounds. Four doubles tandems will participate for the Eagles with two having to make it through the out-match stage to get into the 32-team field.
“We picked up some great momentum at our home invite a couple weeks ago, but this tournament is going to present a whole different challenge for us,” said head coach C.J. Weber. “It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to complete against the best from our region, so hopefully we can represent ourselves well.”
Coming off a singles main draw title at the FGCU Fall Classic, sophomore Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) earned a top 16 seed in the singles main draw and won’t begin his weekend until Friday at 9 a.m. when he faces Georgia Tech’s Juan Melian. Vives enters with an 8-2 record on the season, going 5-0 en route to his singles title at the FGCU Fall Classic. All five of Vives’ victories during the title run came in straight sets and he gave up just 18 games over the weekend. All eight of Vives’ wins have come in straight sets.
Junior Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) and sophomore Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS (FL)) will also not have to quality on Thursday for the singles main draw. Tsamas has had a stellar fall, going 6-3 and advancing to the Round of 16 in all three tournaments. Bao, the reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year, went 2-1 at the FGCU Fall Classic, but faced difficult schedule in the first two tournaments, taking no less than three games in a set against opponents from Florida, Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech.
On Thursday in qualifying, sophomore Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS) will start things off at 8:30 a.m. against Stetson’s Egor Panyushkin, while freshman Dylan Gunning (Boca Raton, Fla./Olympic Heights HS) and senior Colin Brown (Victoria, Texas/Memorial HS) will begin at 9 a.m. Junior Gabe Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) will play at 10:30 a.m., and senior Jackson Moore and junior Lance Lvovsky (Dania, Fla./ Broward Virtual School/Jacksonville) will finish off the first round qualifying matches at 11:30 a.m. Beiler will have to win three matches on Thursday to advance to the singles main draw, while the other five have to win two matches due to having an opening bye.
Other than the Round of 64 singles matches, Friday will be mostly doubles play as the combo of Bao and Lvovsky will look to build off their title at the FGCU Fall Classic. The duo defeated a pair of UCF doubles teams and FAU’s squad of Albrecht and Neuner, who finished last season ranked No. 10 in the Southeast Region, on their way to a 4-0 weekend.
Tsamas and Echeverry also have a bye in the first round of doubles and will play the previous mentioned Neuner and Dubuque from FAU Friday afternoon. Vives and Moore will team up to play Miami’s Stancati and Gonzalez on Friday. Brown and Beiler round out FGCU’s doubles teams and they will also play in one of the 13 out-matches to make the field of 32 against Gauer and Gonzalez of Florida State.
The ITA Southeast Regionals will run from Thursday, Oct. 18 through Monday, Oct. 22. Fans can get updates on FGCU men’s tennis on twitter by following @FGCU_MTEN. Daily recaps with results will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.