April 4, 2005
GREENSBORO N.C. –
Teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference should start to take notice, Mat Cloer has returned to the form that made him the two-time conference Player of the Year. After pulling off a pair of victories over ranked opponents on Saturday, he claimed the second ACC Player of the Week honor of his career as announced by league office on Tuesday (April 2).
While Cloer will savor the honor, a bigger obstacle awaits him this week as he will play in the USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger at Forestmeadows Tennis Complex. The recipient of a wild card entry in the main draw, he will face the tournament’s number one seed Jonas Bjorkman at approximately 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Bjorkman was ranked as high as number four in the world at one point and returned to the top doubles spot on the planet following a win in doubles at the NASDAQ 100 in Miami over the weekend.
“Mat is a two-time ACC Player of the Year, but he’s really worked hard this year about being a better all-around player,” FSU net boss Dwayne Hultquist said. “His doubles has really taken off this year and he’s proven himself as an accomplished doubles player as well as a great singles player.”
Named ACC POW on March 10, 2003, Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) posted two wins during FSU’s 7-0 sweep of No. 19 Clemson. Down 7-5 with Ytai Abougzir (Boca Raton, Fla.) in their doubles bout against No. 28 Nathan Thompson and Ryan Young, FSU’s No. 39 tandem rallied to win the last four games to pull off the 9-7 victory.
After a rough start to the conference portion of the schedule, Cloer has won four of his last five singles matches. Against Clemson he posted his highest-ranked victory of the year, and fourth-best of his career, as he beat No. 18 Thompson 6-2, 6-3. Currently ranked 26th, Cloer’s lone loss in nearly a month was a third-set heartbreaker to No. 5 Ludovic Walter of Duke in which the Seminole had a chance to serve for the match.
“I’m happy with how he’s playing right now,” Hultquist noted. “He’s really picked up his serve and he’s coming to the net a bit more to finish points up there. It took a great player in Ludovic to beat him the other day.”
In doubles, Cloer and Abougzir have won six straight matches, including back-to-back wins over top 30 tandems. The duo has only dropped one match to a ranked opponent this year while compiling a 14-3 overall record, 5-1 in the conference. Cloer is 12-6 this year in singles.
“Mat has been a great leader this year,” Hultquist added. “He and Ytai were down in that match to Clemson and they fought back to win and even though we would have won the point, I think if Clemson would have won that it would have neutralized our momentum. Mat has committed a lot of himself this year to how the team does and that was evident on Saturday.”
Cloer’s victory in singles moved him up to a tie with All-America Ken McKenize for fifth in school history at 79 triumphs. By taking both matches against Clemson he drew even with Michael Ingham and Joey Rive for sixth-place in Seminole lore at 142 combined wins (79 singles, 63 doubles.
Following his participation at the Tallahassee Challenger, Cloer and the Florida State will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on No. 41 Virginia Tech on Friday at 2 p.m.