Men's Tennis to Face Three Ranked Opponents Beginning Friday
March 11, 2004
The University of Memphis men's tennis team (9-6, 2-3 C-USA) will wrap up a busy week of tennis against three nationally-ranked opponents in Texas, beginning with No. 65 Texas Tech, at 9 a.m., Friday, in the Rice Hilton Houston Plaza Invitational.
No. 65 Texas Tech
Junior Jakob Paulsen and freshman Bojan Szumanski have split time at No. 1 singles, with Szumanski carrying a 3-0 record, while Paulsen is 4-5. Szumanski is also 4-1 at No. 2 singles, and has a spring mark of 8-1 already this season.
Junior Esat Tanik is 5-3 at No. 3 singles, while fellow junior Michael Innerebner is 4-0 at No. 4. Freshman Dinko Halachev has also played at No. 4, compiling a 3-2 record at both 4 and 5 singles. Dimitrio Martinez has been carrying the No. 6 spot, with a 6-1 mark. In doubles play, Texas Tech is led by the team of Tanik and Szumanski with a 4-3 mark at No. 1 doubles, whilethe team of Halachev and Paulsen are 3-4 at No. 2 doubles. Teddy DiBlasi and Innerebner are 4-3 at No. 3 doubles for the Red Raiders in the seven matches where doubles has been played.
No. 6 Rice University
The Rice Owls, who will be a Conference USA member in 2005, are 11-0 and have their highest-ever ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll since it began in 1978. Seniors Richard and William Barker leads the Owls with their No. 2 ITA doubles ranking, where the duo is a perfect 8-0 so far this season. Richard is also a perfect 9-0 at No. 3 singles, while William is 7-3 at No. 2 singles.
Sophomore Robert Searle has played all the No. 1 singles matches so far for Rice, compiling a 5-4 mark and teaming with freshman Ben Harknett for a 5-1 mark at No. 3 doubles. Konstantin Haerle is a perfect 11-0 at No. 4 singles and the No. 5 spot has been split between Harknett and senior Vuk Rajevac. Harknett is 4-2 at No. 5, while Rajevac is 2-2. Rajevac is also 3-0 at No. 6 singles, while freshman Jason Mok from Sydney, Australia, is 1-3 at the six spot. The Owls have already faced 10 ranked opponents, and have twice beaten teams ranked No. 75 in the ITA poll, knocking New Orleans out of the rankings and blanking UALR, 4-0.
No. 56 Virginia Tech
Tech is guided by senior Andreas Laulund, the No. 39 ranked singles player in the country. Laulund has pulled off upsets of ranked opponents twice in the past two weeks, after struggling early in the season after being ranked in the pre-season polls. Laulund is 8-3 at No. 1 singles through the first 12 matches, and is 2-5 at No. 1 doubles when teamed with sophomore Soren Spanner. Spanner also plays No. 2 singles, carrying a 3-5 mark, while freshman Arvid Puranen and Spanner have split time at No. 3 singles. Puranen is 4-3 at No. 3, while Spanner is 2-1. Junior Angel Diankov has played all but three matches at No. 4 singles, bringing a 3-6 mark into the tournament, while freshman Morten Schultz is 3-3 at No. 5, while Adel Abbas is 2-0. Sophomore Brent Wilkins has played the most matches at No. 6 singles, with a 3-5 mark.
No. 75 Memphis
Junior Alex Bucewicz was the first Tiger to the double-digit singles mark, and brings an 11-3 overall mark into the Rice tournament, including an 11-2 mark at No. 3 singles. Freshman James Spence is just behind Bucewicz in the win column, with a 10-3 singles mark, all of those matches coming at No. 2 singles.
Senior Lee Taylor Walker started the spring the No. 48 ranked singles player in the country, but was upended three times at the C-USA Inter Conference Tournament and twice at the HEB Invite to drop out of the rankings for the first time this season in the rankings released Tuesday. The senior has since responded with two wins at No. 1 singles, pulling him back to 8-7 at No. 1 singles, and has teamed with Spence to post a 9-3 mark at No. 1 doubles.
Junior Marten Tamla has played the last nine matches at No. 4 singles, with a 6-3 mark heading into this weekend's tournament, while freshman Sam Withell, who arrived in Memphis in January, is 6-6 at No. 5 singles. Withell is also teaming with Bucewicz and playing No. 2 doubles, where the duo is 3-1 on the season. Bucewicz had also teamed with Tamla early in the year at No. 2, posting a 4-3 mark.
The No. 6 singles spot has normally featured either sophomore Alex Jago or junior Mark Finnegan. Finnegan, who just returned to the line-up late in January following a shoulder injury that caused him to miss a majority of the fall, is now 5-1 at No. 6, while Jago is 4-3. Jago is teaming with another January addition, freshman Luke Campbell, to play No. 3 doubles, where the duo is 6-3 on the season. Campbell has also played two matches at the No. 6 singles spot, picking up his first career singles win over C-USA foe Charlotte, Wednesday.
The Tigers' 9-6 mark this season improves Head Coach Phil Chamberlain's overall mark to 95-55 in his sixth season at the helm of his alma mater. He is already second on the school coaching ranks' career wins list, behind Tommy Buford, who coached Chamberlain at then-Memphis State from 1973-1976.
Following the Rice tournament, the Tigers will break for 13 days from competition before returning to the road to play at Jacksonville State, Mar. 27th and at Georgia State, the 28th.