Oct. 6, 2004
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –
It was bad news, good news for Florida State University men’s tennis player Chris Westerhof on Wednesday (Oct. 6). Needing just one more win to advance to the main draw of the Icy Hot / ITA All-American Championship, the junior was eliminated in the final round of the qualifying draw.
Fortunately for Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) he is not finished at the tournament. Thursday he will team up with doubles partner Jeff Groslimond (Atlanta, Ga.) as he tenth-ranked duo in the country starts doubles play during the main draw.
“Chris played well, he really competed,” FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “He fought off several matches points throughout the match and really kept himself in it. Chris was down in the second set and came back to win and then fought off a few match points in the third. I bet Oredsson had seven match points before he finally won it.”
By winning his first two matches of the qualifier, Westerhof only needed to beat SMU’s Peter Oredsson to earn one of 16 bids in the main single draw. Just as he had done the previous two bouts, Westerhof pushed the match to a third set, but this time he came out on the short end, losing 7-5, 6-7 (7), 7-5.
Three-set matches had become the norm for the south-paw. He opened the tournament with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Rafael Abru of TCU, who beat Chip Webb during last year’s dual match. Once again on day two Westerhof dropped the first set 2-6, only to come back and beat Tennessee’s Matt Berry 6-2, 6-2.
Florida State had four other players in the qualifying and pre-qualifying draws. Freshman Sam Chang (Young-Ming, Taiwan) won his first collegiate match 6-4, 7-5 over New Mexico State’s Danilo Zivanovic in his collegiate debut, but lost the next day 7-6 (3), 6-1 to Winthrop’s Clayton Almeida, the No. 54 player in the country. Groslimond fell 7-5, 6-4 to Jose-Carlos Pinto of Mississippi State in the first round. Chang and Webb lost 9-8 (3) to the Auburn doubles team in the qualifying draw.
Just like Westerhof, Webb (Chattanooga, Tenn.) fell just short of advancing to the next level as he fell in the pre-qualifying round. Playing in front of his hometown fans for the last time, the senior beat Kristijan Mitrovski of UAB 6-4, 6-3, before falling to Middle Tennessee’s Greg Pollack 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7). Sophomore Jason Hood (Charleston, S.C.) lost to Ole Miss’s Bram Ten Berge 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
“We feel that they can beat anybody in the tournament,” Hultquist said of Groslimond and Westerhof. “They’re really worked hard to get here and we’d like to see them make a bit of a run. They have to get out to a quick start. It’s an eight-game pro set so it really goes quickly and you have to have a fast start.”
The doubles draw is not announced until Wednesday evening with play beginning on Thursday.