Aug. 8, 2003
DECATUR, Ill. –
In order to improve on last year’s showing at the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships, Florida State University’s Mat Cloer (Brevard, N.C. / Farrugut) knew that he would have to raise his level of competition this summer. The junior appears to be on the right track as he reached the semifinals of the Ursula Beck Men’s Pro Tennis Classic on the United States Tennis Association’s Futures Tour.
The 2003 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, Cloer had to make it through four qualifying rounds before even taking a swing in the tournament. With his success at the week-long event Cloer has started to climb up the world rankings. Going into the event, Cloer was rated 988 with five ATP points. Advancing the semifinals gave him six more Tour points and will move him up at least 150 spots.
“It was a great run for Mat,” FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “To win seven matches in a row and defeat the No. 1 seed shows that not only can he win big matches, but string several of them together. He has the ambition to play after college and I think that this shows that has the ability to do that.”
Just getting to the main draw was an accomplishment as Cloer beat out 128 qualifiers who competed for just eight spots. During the first round he needed three sets to beat Japan’s Toshihide Matsui 3-6, 7-6 (5) and 6-2. From there went up against top-seeded Raven Klaasen of Russia and dispensed of the number one player in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
In his quarterfinal match, Cloer was pushed the fullest extent in both sets before coming away with the straight-sets victory. A 7-5, 7-6 (5) triumph over Go Soeda of Japan put him one match away from the finals. However, that first title is still out there as fellow qualifier Matthew Hanlin of Great Brittan ended Cloer’s run with a 7-6 (5), 6-2 defeat in the semifinals.
“I think that Mat is one of the better players in all of collegiate tennis,” Hultquist added. “What we’d like to see him do this fall is make a run at one of the grand slams at either the All-American or the Indoors.”
Ranked 38th at the end of the year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, he was the first Seminole men’s tennis player in school history to earn the ACC’s top honor. Cloer ended his sophomore campaign at the NCAA Championships in May when he was defeated 4-6, 2-6 in the first round by Alejandro Tejerina of Tulsa.
His 29-12 singles record, including a 7-1 league mark, ranks fourth in school history. Of his 29 victories, 12 came against ranked players, but what might be more impressive that he only dropped one match to a non-ranked player. Going into his junior campaign Cloer needs six singles victories to crack FSU’s all-time top ten and 11 doubles wins to own the school mark.