Memphis Set To Open Action At Sun Belt Shooutout
April 3, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis men's tennis team will compete at the Sun Belt Shootout on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., this weekend. The Tigers, who enter this weekend's matches boasting one of the program's best marks in the last decade (12-8), will compete against solid competition including several teams from the Sun Belt Conference.
Memphis continues to be led by 86th-ranked Jorge Vazquez, a native of La Coruna, Spain. Vazquez has been a staple in the rankings for the Tigers this season, fluctuating anywhere from 51st to 102nd from the time period starting on Jan. 6 and ending on the present date. Vazquez is 4-3 against opponents currently ranked among the top 125 singles players in the country.
The Tigers eight losses this season have come to opponents ranked higher than No. 60 in the ITA polls; Ole Miss (No. 2), Alabama (No. 15), Arizona (No. 20), Boise State (No. 23), Rice (No. 35), Vanderbilt (No. 53), Mississippi State (No. 60).
Along with Vazquez, Memphis has also gotten a boost from the bottom of their line-up in recent weeks. In the win against Ball State at the Boise State Invitational last weekend, it was the netters at the bottom of the line-up who picked up the wins to solidify a win for the Tigers. Michael Hayes, a junior transfer from London, England, went 3-0 in the weekend's festivities, winning his matches against players from Ball State, No. 23 Boise State and NAIA fourth-ranked Fresno Pacific.
In doubles, the pairs of Leon Nasemann and Jorge Vazquez, along with Benedikt Fischer and Jordan Smith each picked up wins against Fresno Pacific last weekend to help the Tigers take the doubles point in the match.
The field of the Sun Belt Shootout is led by ranked teams Middle Tennessee (No. 56) and Denver (No. 74), but also includes Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky, UL-Lafayette, South Alabama and Troy. Memphis will open up play on Friday against South Alabama. The Jaguars were ranked No. 75 in the nation in the ITA polls on Mar. 10, but have since fallen out of the polls. USA is led by Sergio Ramirez, currently ranked 63rd nationally in singles. Ramirez enters the weeked with a record of 8-1. His biggest win of the season came on Feb. 8, when he upended 11th-ranked Jean-Yves Aubone of Florida State, 6-4, 6-3.
Along with Ramirez and Vazquez, the tournament has four other ranked singles netters; Middle Tennessee's Robert McKenzie (No. 94) and John Peers (No. 104), FAU's Marc Abdelnour (No. 99) and Denver's David Simson (No. 112).
In doubles, the tandems of Peers and McKenzie (No. 29) and Peers and Victor Melo (No. 40) of Middle Tennessee and Denver's Martin Zimmerman and Simson (No. 78), enter the weekend ranked.
Following the Sun Belt Shootout, the Tigers will return home for their final regular season match against Arkansas Pine-Bluff. The match will mark the final home dual for the Tigers two seniors; Vazquez and Benedikt Fischer.