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GT Tennis Review (and UGA Preview)

Discussion in 'Other Georgia Tech Sports' started by Cam, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Cam

    Cam Helluva Engineer

    Well, for those interested I'll give my review of our tennis situation. Unfortunately, on top of the US losing to Finland in Olympic hockey and GT losing to Clemson in basketball, Tech also lost to Florida State today in their ACC Opener 6-1. It's one of those weekends. Tech's record was 6-1 coming into this game with a pretty big win over South Carolina a little earlier in the season, but FSU really outplayed us.

    For those unaware of how collegiate tennis is scored, I'll give a brief overview (as best as I understand it). The first three matches played are doubles matches. They each play one pro set (which goes up to 8) and whoever wins 2 out of 3 of the matches gets one point. After that 6 singles matches are played with regular tennis scoring (two 6 game sets, and a tiebreak if they split). The best players play line one, followed by the next best playing line two, and so on. Once one team gets 4 out of the 7 total points, the match is over.

    In the case of today's match, GT lost two of the doubles matches, but was at least narrowly winning the third. So, FSU starts the singles portion with one point. As far as singles goes, here are the results:

    1. #112 Dominic Cotrone (FS) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT) 6-2, 6-3
    2. Blake Davis (FS) def. Carlos Benito (GT) 6-2, 6-7 (8-10), 1-0 (13-11)
    3. #98 Cristian Gonzalez Mendez (FS) def. Eduardo Segura (GT) 6-4, 6-3
    4. Marco Nunez (FS) def. Casey Kay (GT) 6-4, 6-2
    5. Cole Fiegel (GT) def. Michael Rinaldi (FS) 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 1-0 (10-6)
    6. Grayson Goldin (FS) def. Will Showers (GT) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8)

    The numbers next to names indicate what they are ranked in the nation in singles and the scores in the parentheses are what the scores of the tiebreaks were. Seeing as 5 tiebreaks were played today, this match was far closer than the final result shows. Carlos Benito had just edged out his set tiebreak 10-8, but lost the match tiebreak 13-11. It was the exact opposite with Cole Fiegel as he won the only point for GT today in a match tiebreak. And then again with Grayson Goldin just barely beating Will Showers (our prized recruit last year who was ranked 8th in the nation in Juniors) in a 10-8 heart breaker. To put things into perspective, Benito and Segura (who are ranked 15th in the nation in doubles) lost their first doubles match of the season today. With their win, we'd start 1-0. If Benito and Showers had also won their match tiebreaks in singles, we would have won this match 4-3. All in all, it's just about not shooting yourself in the foot, which Tech fans know is our athletic program's biggest problem.

    Florida State really is packed full of top end talent. Here's some insight into how tennis recruiting is really different from a lot of other sports. Florida is a huge hotbed of tennis talent and it's easy pickings for the Florida schools to get some of the best players. For example, that Grayson Goldin in line 6 actually grew up in Marietta and my dad was his coach up until he was 8 years old. The kid showed so much natural talent that my dad recommended that his parents capitalize on his prowess and take him to an international academy. So, they actually moved to Florida, home schooled him, and enrolled him in Nick Bollettieri's IMG tennis academy (place where a lot of pros from around the world started). Florida is full of these academies dedicated to structuring athlete's lives around becoming better players. Their life is tennis. That's the life of a lot of these FSU players, whereas all of our American talent is a little more home grown and attended regular high schools in the area. Now, another unique aspect of tennis recruiting is that there are tons of international players. Lots of South American countries and Spain (our two guys are Spanish, two a few years ago were Columbian). Also, I spoke with a coach a few years ago who played for UGA's women's team and she said that colleges should almost limit the number of Russian women per team. She played with a lot of imported Russian girls (think Maria Sharapova who grew up in the US). Foreign players generally grow up in these super academies in their countries and use this as a way of getting a free American college education. Therefore, they're typically some of your best players. Having Nathan Rakitt playing 1 for us is actually rather remarkable, since we've usually left that spot up to a foreign student. He's really made a lot of strides since I saw him play in high school and he'll be one to watch.

    We all have UGA to look forward to next Thursday at 2:30 in Athens. I went to the game last year when it was held here and I was truly surprised by the huge turnout from UGA fans. Tech wasn't lacking, but the place was stuffed with people and there was a lot of red. I won't be able to attend the game as I have class, but hopefully we have others who can make it. As much as I hate to say it, UGA is pretty good. They have been for awhile, especially when they had John Isner not that long ago. They've got players now like #20 ranked Nathan Pasha, who was always the #1 Junior in the state when I was growing up, and #14 Austin Smith, one of those child phenoms who always played up two age groups and beat kids twice his size. They're just stacked and it's arguable to say that their tennis team is better than their football team (for comparison's sake). Though the good news is that they've lost 5 out of their last 6 games, so their confidence won't be that great. Anything can happen. If you're in the area and have time to kill, you might want to try checking out the game. College tennis is far different than the cordial professional tennis you see on TV. A lot of cheering and heckling goes on and it can get pretty exciting (as all of the tiebreaks today must have been). As always with rivalry games, this game is gonna be especially salty. It will be a fun one to watch.

    If you want to see our women play UGA, that will be tomorrow at 1:00! All tennis matches here are free for everyone, not just students (unless they changed that recently). I really don't know much about our women's program, but they've been more successful than our men's team in recent years and right now they are ranked #25 with a 4-1 record. Let's cheer both men and women on and hope for the best. Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading this and maybe learned something. I could keep these up if you guys like it, I had some fun writing it. There's nearly 2000 members on this site, so hopefully some discussion is made out of this.
  2. Eric

    Eric Retired Co-Founder Staff Member

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to post this...I for one appreciate it.
    Cam likes this.

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