Atlanta, Ga. – Seminole sophomore Alex Knaff advanced to the semifinal on Monday at the 2017 ITA Southeast Regional Championships hosted by Georgia Tech. Redshirt senior Jose Gracia moved into the finals of the consolation bracket.
“It has been a good tournament,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “I am pleased with Alex getting to the semifinals. This has easily been his best tournament at FSU. He grew as the tournament went on.”
Knaff defeated Grayson Goldin of USF in three sets in his first singles match of the day. Knaff fell behind early after losing the first set 6-4. He was able to take the second set 6-3 and take an early 4-2 lead in the final set. Goldin tied it back up at four apiece, but Knaff pulled away, taking set three 6-4 to move onto the semifinals.
“In my first match, my opponent started well,” said Knaff. “I didn’t play my best today, but I hung in and tried to play my game. I got better as the match went on and was able to win even though I was not playing my best.”
Knaff got off to a slow start in his semifinals match, losing the first set 6-3. He was unable to regain control as the second set went back and forth before Walker Duncan of Georgia pulled out the second set and the match 7-6.
“I faced off against another tough opponent,” said Knaff. “I had some opportunities in the second set, but could not pull through. Overall, I am very happy with how I played today.”
Gracia took on Jordan Belga of Florida in the quarterfinals of the consolation singles bracket. Gracia and Belga battled in the first set before Gracia came out on top 7-6(4). Gracia was too strong in the second as he dominated his way to a 6-1 second set win and a place in the consolation semifinals.
In the semifinals, Gracia continued where he left off in the quarterfinals and took down Alex Phillips of Georgia in two sets, 6-2, 6-3, to advance to the consolation finals tomorrow.
“I am very pleased with how Jose is playing,” said Hultquist. “Being able to fight through the back draw after losing to the No. 1 seed in the first round is great and big for his confidence.”
Knaff and senior Guy Iradukunda fell to Loeb and Zielinski of Georgia 8-6 in the doubles quarterfinal.
“We played well, but our opponent was very good,” said Iradukunda. “Our opponent stepped up at the end to take the lead.”
Play will continue tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. with the singles finals followed by the doubles semifinals and finals.
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