Men's Tennis Looks to C-USA Championships
CHICAGO- Six of the nation's top 75 teams and 11 nationally-ranked singles players and doubles tandems will be showcased during the 2002 Conference USA Men's Tennis Championship at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville this Thursday through Sunday. All 12 teams will compete at the championship, with the top four seeds (TCU, Tulane, South Florida and Memphis) each receiving a first round bye.
The championship gets underway Thursday at 8 a.m. when eighth-seeded Charlotte faces ninth-seeded Southern Miss. The 49ers are led by senior Ola Jonsson, who is ranked 93rd in the nation. Southern Miss defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 4-3 in its regular season finale to even its record at 9-9. The winner of that match advances to face top seed and 26th-ranked TCU Friday at 11 a.m. The Horned Frogs have two nationally-ranked singles players - Toni Gordon (42nd) and Fabrizio Sestini (86th). Gordon and Sestini are also the 57th-ranked doubles tandem in the country.
Thursday's second match pits sixth-seeded and 67th-ranked UAB against 11th-seeded Marquette. Alex Jung and Tobias Klein are 41st among all doubles tandems in the nation, and the winner of the UAB-Marquette match moves on to face third-seeded and 32nd-ranked South Florida Friday at 8 a.m. The Bulls' Martin Wetzel (88) and Paco Antelo (109) are among the top 125 singles players in the nation. South Florida has advanced to the Conference USA Championship final four of the last six years, including the 1998 and '99 titles.
Fifth-seeded and 60th-ranked Louisville hopes for its second C-USA title in the last three years when it opens championship play Thursday at 2 p.m. against East Carolina. The U of L returned to the national rankings following a 6-1 defeat of No. 30 Virginia Tech last weekend. Cardinal junior Cody Conley is ranked 121st in the nation in singles. Either Louisville or East Carolina will move on to meet fourth-seeded and 68th-ranked Memphis Friday at 5 p.m.
Seventh-seeded DePaul and 10th-seeded Saint Louis close out Thursday's first round action at 5 p.m. The winner of that match will meet second seeded and 30th-ranked Tulane Friday at 2 p.m. The Green Wave are the defending league champion and have advanced to three of the last five Conference USA finals. Michael Kogan and Victor Romero are ranked 23rd and 67th among all singles players in America, and they are eighth in doubles.
Conference USA Men's Tennis Championship Pairings
Friday April 19
Saturday April 20
Sunday, April 21