May 26, 2004
TULSA, Okla. –
All season long, Florida State University men’s tennis player Mat Cloer has been accomplishing feats that haven’t been done by a Seminole in some time. The 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year can add to that list ending Florida State’s drought in winning a singles match at the NCAA Tournament.
After an early exit in the first round of the 2003 national summit, the junior redeemed himself on Wednesday (May 26) when he beat 37th-ranked Romain Ambert of Mississippi State 7-5, 6-3. Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) moves on to the round of 32 to face the winner of the match between No. 60 Chris Lam of UCLA or SMU’s #26 Johan Brunstrom in Thursday’s second round.
“That’s a good win for Mat, Ambert has been a good player for a long time and he was a guy that could have been a potential seed,” FSU net boss Dwayne Hultquist said. “Mat was coming off a difficult loss and it showed a lot of him to come back and beat a difficult opponent. Every match he plays here is going to be really tough. There are no easy matches in the NCAA Tournament.”
Cloer was coming off one of the toughest losses in his college career, a three-set defeat to Arizona’s Roger Matalonga during the first round of the team competition in which Cloer appeared to have the match won. That match may have been weighing on Cloer as he found himself down 4-1 in the first set. From there the junior won six of the next seven games, including a break at 5-5, to take the first set.
During the second set, Cloer had his return of serve working as he broke Ambert four-straight times on his way the 6-3 victory and the match. In fact, the only time that the Bulldog held his serve was in his very first service game. From there, Cloer broke at one-all, two-all, three-all and 5-3 to claim victory.
“I got a little flustered, I was rushing everything and just beating myself,” Cloer said. “After I got that first set under my belt my confidence totally rose and I played much better in the second set. I got a monkey off my back, that’s for sure. I hadn’t won a dual match at the NCAA Tournament and now that I’ve got one under my belt hopefully I can win about five more.”
It had been two seasons since Florida State had a player win a match in the singles draw at the NCAA Tournament. During his only trip to the tournament, Xavier Luscan beat Southern California’s Andrew Park. Luscan’s appearance in 2002, combined with Cloer’s back-to-back trips marks the first time in school history that Florida State has had player in the singles draw in three consecutive seasons.
NCAA Tournament Round One
#27 Mat Cloer (FSU) d. #37 Romain Ambert (MSU) 7-5, 6-3