Oct. 22, 2004
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –
While most teams brought their entire roster to the Wilson / ITA Mideast Regional, Florida State University only has four players on the University of North Carolina campus. What the Seminoles lack in numbers they’re making up with their play as three of the four singles players and a doubles team is still alive after the first day of the main draw.
On the line at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center is an automatic bid to the ITA National Indoor Championships, hosted by the University of Michigan, November 4-7. Both singles finalist and the doubles champion are guaranteed spots in the national tournament. The regional is the Seminoles only scheduled indoor event of the year.
Despite brining only four players, Florida State had all four in the main single draw as well as both doubles teams after Chip Webb (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Sam Chang (Young-Ming, Taiwan) advanced from the qualifying draw. FSU held its own against league opponents, going 4-1 in its matches versus ACC schools.
“I thought we played well,” FSU net boss Dwayne Hultquist said. “Even Chip, who lost played a good match, played well. Luchici s going to play one or two from North Carolina and Chip was right there. We don’t play a whole lot of indoor tennis and we played pretty strong up here.”
Florida State’s best shot at spot in the indoor championships, the second-seeded doubles team of Jeff Groslimond (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) got their run at a bid for Ann Arbor started with an 8-4 win over Gabriel Delarue and Florent Wilpotte of Campbell. The No. 10 duo in the country will play William & Mary’s Alex Cojanu and Jeff Kader at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Westerhof had the easiest time advancing during the first round of singles play. After dropping the first set 6-7 (5) to North Carolina’s Geoff Boyd, the southpaw was up 2-0 when Boyd had to retire. He’ll play Duke’s Jason Zimmerman–the number nine seeded in the top half of the bracket–at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Posting a straight-set victory in his first match was Groslimond as he beat North Carolina’s Will Plyer. The junior posted a 6-3, 6-2 win to advance to the second round where he will face Winthrop’s Clayton Almeida, seeded number seven in the bottom of have of the draw, at 9 a.m.
Also advancing to play on Saturday was the rookie Chang as he secured an opening-round win. Ranked No. 123 in the country, Chang defeated Duke’s Stefan Rozycki 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 and will take on Virginia’s Rylan Rizza, seeded ninth in the bottom half of the draw, at 9:30 a.m.
“Tomorrow is going to be a big day,” Hultquist added. “All three of our singles matches are against higher seeds and guys who are little higher ranked. Looking at the tournament, we only brought four players and we have three left, whereas Duke, Virginia and North Carolina brought almost their entire rosters and have four or five remaining. If after tomorrow we have the same number of players remaining as them then I think we’re playing on their level.”
The fourth first-round victory of the day came from Webb as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over North Carolina State’s Mason Schermerhorn. Unfortunately, his run ended when Raian Luchini beat him 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Thursday evening Webb and Chang secured a spot in the field of 48 teams when they beat the host tandem of Plyer and David Stone of UNC 8-6. The Tar Heels got their revenge in the main draw as Jonathan Janda and Luchici and ended their run with a tough 9-8 (5) win in the first round.