ETSU men's tennis opens Southern Intercollegiate with a bang

Friday, September 19, 2008

ATHENS, Ga. (September 19, 2008) -Facing some of the top teams in the nation, the ETSU men's tennis team had a powerful opening day at the 41st Annual Southern Intercollegiate Championships, in Athens, Ga.


The Bucs opened day one singles play as freshman Sander Gille won his opening match against Jacksonville's Victor Vaz, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.


"I don't think Sander played as well as he did last week, but the most important thing is he found a way to win," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "The weather conditions were very windy this morning and that made things more difficult as this match went on. However, at the end of the day he won his match and that's something he can be proud of."


Also for the Bucs junior newcomer Grega Teraz (Gorenjska, Slovenia), dropped his opening match to Virginia Tech's Sebastian Jacques, 6-1, 6-0.


"I thought Grega battled hard today," said Zaatini. "The player from Virginia Tech has a style that is hard to play against and I believe that was the difference in the match. With Grega being a new player for us, I think at times he's pushing and trying to prove himself almost too much. He's a good tennis player and he needs to relax a little more and let things come to him."


Also in the Division I bracket sophomore Sergio Valez (Medlin, Columbia), defeated fellow countryman Thomas Estrada of South Florida in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.


"This was a unique matchup for Sergio," said Zaatini. "Both him and Thomas grew up playing against one another. It was special to watch both of them square off this afternoon. Again this was a tough match for out team, but I thought Sergio did a great job staying with his points and that was the biggest difference in getting this win."


One of the most competitive matches for the Bucs on Friday, was between sophomore Matej Ztatkovic (Ljubljana, Slovenia), and Georgia Tech's Elliot Potvin. After winning the first set 7-6, Matej had a chance to close out the match during the second set; however Potvin kept fighting for the 6-7 win. In the third and final set, Potvin's momentum was to strong to overcome as Ztatkovic dropped the deciding frame 6-3.


"Out of all our players, I feel the worst for Matej," said Zaatini. "To be within one point of winning the match and then have some shots that wouldn't fall was frustrating to watch. I think Matej is a great player for us and hopefully he can regain some confidence and rebound tomorrow."


No. 31st ranked senior  Enrique Olivares (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela), looked strong in his opening fall tournament match dismissing Jacksonville's Francisco Riveroll in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.


"Riveroll is a good conference opponent to open the tournament with for Enrique," said Zaatini. "He played the No. 3  position for them last season. That being said Enrique did a great job with his forehand today. That's something he's worked hard out during the off-season and it paid off this afternoon."


Rounding out the Bucs singles scores was newcomer Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France), who defeated No. 109 Christian Vitulli of host Georgia, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2.


"Charles is still working on his conditioning early this season, but today's long match will help in that process," said Zaatini. "I'm proud of how he handled himself on the court today against a great opponent from Georgia. Georgia is the two-time defending NCAA champion and anytime you can come out with a victory against a player from a club like that, will only help Charles in the future."


Day two of the Southern Intercollegiate Championships begins at 8:00 a.m., Saturday.

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