March 23, 2004
GREENSBORO, N.C. –
For the past month, the members of the Florida State University men’s tennis team have known how well freshman Jonathas Sucupira has been playing. It’s just now that they’re letting the rest of the country in on the secret. After winning three singles matches, including two over top-30 players, Sucupira was named Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Tennis Player of the Week.
As a result of the three victories, which pushed his winning streak to nine matches, Sucupira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) entered the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll for the first time in his career at No. 51. The three triumphs improved his record to 17-8, trying him with #19 Mat Cloer (Brevard, N.C.) for the most on the team this year. The rookie has not lost a singles match since February 20 when he fell to #22 William Barker or Rice.
“Jonathas has gone a whole month without losing a match so he has been getting it done for a while now,” FSU head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “He’s being reward now for what he has done this last month. We’re really proud of what he’s done.”
The week started with Sucupira beating North Carolina State’s number two player Will Shaw 6-2, 6-2. Up next was a showdown with #29 Phil Stolt of Illinois and the three-set battle went FSU’s way as Sucupira prevailed 1-6, 6-0, 6-2. His win, combined with another by Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) at No. 3 made the Seminoles just the second team this year to win two of the top three singles matches against the top-ranked Illini.
The following day Sucupira’s task was even tougher in more than one respect. For starters, he was facing #7 Ludovic Walter of Duke. There was also the added pressure of keeping the Seminoles in the dual match. The Blue Devils had won their third point of the day and needed to just one win of the remaining three matches to claim the team victory.
After taking the first set 6-3, Sucupira found himself in a hole down 5-3 in second set. The match looked to be on its way to a tiebreaker, but Sucupira broke Ludovic twice and held his serve two times to win the match. It was his third victory over a ranked opponent and the second against a top-ten player. Earlier in the year he beat Florida’s ninth-ranked Janne Holmia.
“He plays a lot better when he plays with energy and I think people like to watch him,” Hultquist noted. “We had great crowds on Saturday and Sunday and the stands were pretty full around his court. I think the fans like to watch someone who puts a lot of energy into their match and Jonathas certainly does that. He also impacts the guys around him and inspires the team.”
Sucupira will defend his national ranking and look to extend his winning streak to double digits when the Seminoles, who moved up to No. 25 in the lastes ITA poll, play host to #48 Wake Forest on Saturday (March 27) at 1 p.m. on the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.