By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 11, 2004
While the nation’s top singles players competed in the Icy Hot/ITA Men’s All-American Championship this weekend, muscle cramps ended up being the toughest opponent for UA tennis junior Roger Matalonga.
Leading Greg Oullette of Florida 7-6 (5), 3-4 in the first round of this tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., cramps forced Matalonga to withdraw from the singles bracket.
Coach Bill Wright said that he thinks that Matalonga likely would have held on to his lead if he were not forced to pull out.
“I would have thought he’d win that match for sure,” he said.
Arizona’s fifth-ranked doubles duo of Matalonga and senior Colin O’Grady failed to live up to its ranking while being upset by Georgia’s 11th-ranked combination of John Isner and Antonio Ruiz 8-6 in the round of 16. They also beat Montana State’s Marek Gebicki and Braden Olson 8-3 in the round of 32.
The Wildcats finished the trip 4-4, starting with the pre-qualifying event Oct. 1.
O’Grady lost to Treat Huey of Virginia, 6-4, 6-4, in the qualifying round of 64 after beating Middle Tennessee’s Greg Pollack 6-2, 7-6(6) in the round of 128. In the pre-qualifying round, junior Paul Warkentin won his first two matches before losing to Matt Roberts of Arkansas, 6-0, 6-4.
Wright said that the tough competition UA encountered would help them figure out what they need to work on later in the season.
“It will help a great deal,” he said. “The tougher the pre-season is the better, so we try to make it as tough as we can. It’s very early on in the season so it’s good to get some matches under our belts. Any time you do that it’s a positive.”
On the other side of the country, other Wildcats played in the San Diego Collegiate Classic, which Wright said was only recently added to the schedule. All competitors played three round-robin matches, but no tournament champion was crowned. UA competed against players from USC, USD and UCSD.
Freshman Bruno Alcala won all three matches, including a victory in his first collegiate match of his career over No. 83 Drew Hoskins of USC, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Fellow freshmen Jed Wyler won two matches and Luka Cerenko won one match.
“Everyone played really well,” Wright said.
Hollands knocked out early for second consecutive tourney
For the second straight tournament, senior Dianne Hollands fell victim to an upset in her first match.
This time Hollands lost to Margarita Karnaukhova of Sacramento, 6-2, 6-0, in the first round of the 2004 Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Hollands, ranked seventh in the nation, also fell in her first match of the Baylor Invitational before winning its consolation championship to open the season.
Hollonds lost to Alabama’s Robin Stephenson, 6-3, 6-2, in the consolation semifinals of the All-American Championships. Earlier, she beat Maryland’s Romana But, 7-5, 6-2, in the quarterfinals and Tulsa’s Daniela Muscolino, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, in the round of 16.
After finishing the tournament with a 2-2 record, Hollands is 6-3 on the season.
Head coach Vicky Maes said that Hollands has “got some catching up to do” after taking the summer off, which can be accomplished by playing at highly competitive tournaments such as the All-American. Maes also said a lack of confidence is plaguing Hollands.
“She needs to get wins to get a groove,” Maes said. “Playing the best people, she knows what to expect as team competition comes around. Dianne knows she’s in for a battle.”
The Wildcats top-ranked doubles team also fell to the upset bug for the second straight tournament. Hollands and senior teammate Maja Mlakar lost to Notre Dame’s seventh-ranked twin duo of Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson 8-6 in the quarterfinals after squeaking by 10th-ranked Harvard’s Courtney Bergman and Susanna Lingman 9-8 (4) in the first round.
The doubles team also lost in the quarterfinals at Baylor and now holds a 2-2 record for the year. However, the Wildcats will maintain their top ranking until January 11 when the pre-season rankings are updated.
Maes said the experience competing against two top-10 doubles teams in this tournament will help Hollands and Mlakar down the road.
“This is what playing early tennis is about, playing good matches,” she said. “As long as they fight and compete I can’t be disappointed in the outcome.”
The team will be off until Nov. 4-7 when they play the ITA National Indoors Championships and the Fall Desert Classic.