July 15, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Five months ago, then Florida State University freshman men’s tennis player Sam Chang lost a heartbreaking three-set contest to Florida’s Ryan Sherry in the deciding match of UF’s 4-3 victory. While the stakes weren’t as high this time, Chang got even with the Gator as he beat Sherry in the finals of the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit Southeast Region tournament in Tallahassee.
Seeded third in the draw, Chang (Young-Ming, Taiwan) used a break in first set to win the opener 6-4. He proceeded to sweep the second stanza 6-0 to claim the title. Ironically, the sophomore was on the verge of not making the championship bout as he was down 5-7, 2-4 to teammate Jonathas Sucupira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) when Sucupira had to retire.
“I felt it was important victory for Sam, given that he lost to him earlier in the year,” FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist staid. “It shows how much he’s improved and the commitment he’s made this summer. Sam has trained really hard, he’s gotten a lot stronger and improved his game. In tennis, unlike some other sports, you almost have to play-year round. It keeps them sharp helps them improve.”
Chang had a relatively easy time reaching the semifinals, receiving a bye in the first round followed by a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Nicholas Hudson. His quarterfinal opponent Jimmy Roesch default on Wednesday, setting up Thursday’s semifinal bout with Sucupira. After winning the singles crown, Chang got the sweep as he and incoming freshman Maciek Sykut (Marathon, Fla.) teamed up to win the doubles title that afternoon with their 9-7 victory over Brandon Pierpont and Adam Roos.
On his way to the semifinals, Sucupira only dropped seven games in three matches. He opened the draw with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Jamall Hepburn from Barry University, then beat Roos 6-2, 6-2. Sucupira took down incoming FSU freshman Drew Bailey (Tallahassee, Fla.) 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals before succumbing to the heat in the semis.
For Bailey, his first taste of collegiate action was a successful one. After fifth-seeded Brett McKeon withdrew, the future Seminole won his round of 16 match 6-4, 6-4 against Notre Dame’s Pierpont before falling to Sucupira.
Florida State players made 25 percent of the round of 16 as Sykut advanced after a pair of victories. Seeded fourth, he won a third-set super tiebreaker 10-5 over Wake Forest’s Charles Sartor for the 4-6, 6-0, 1-0 (5) victory. A default by Sriram Meka put Sykut in the round of 16 against Shaun Young from Florida, but the Gator stopped his run with the 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (11) triumph. Sophomore Stefan Shaw (Bristol, England) beat Wofford’s Jeff Muthig 6-1, 6-2 in the first round before losing to Young 6-1, 6-0.
The Seminoles are coming off one of the best seasons in school history. Florida State finished the year ranked 13th after advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history with their 4-3 victory over No. 5 Illinois. The 2005 campaign also produced the school’s first singles All-American as Mat Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA singles tournament.