By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 18, 2004
For a second consecutive week the injury bug bit the UA men's tennis team. This time a strained back forced senior Paul Warkentin to drop out of the Midland Tennis Classic in Midland, Texas.
Last week junior Roger Matalonga pulled out of the first round of the Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championship because of muscle cramps.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, Warkentin's withdrawal was mainly a precautionary measure and he said that he will be available next week. A back injury sidelined Warkentin for a few months last season so he did not want to take any chances in a preseason tournament.
"Last year I kept trying to play through it so we agreed I should sit," Warkentin said. "It's an important tournament, but in the grand scheme of things it's not."
Warkentin won two matches before pulling the muscle in his back in the second set of his match against Rice's Ben Harknett Saturday. He dropped out of the competition after defeating Harknett 7-6, 6-4 in the consolation round.
Warkentin beat Portland's Roman Borvanov 6-0, 6-4 Friday in the round of 32 and lost a competitive 7-6, 7-6 decision to Tony Haerle of Rice in the round of 16.
Warkentin said that most teams brought their top two players to this tournament.
"I think I played quite well," Warkentin said. "They really brought in the heavy hitters so it was stiff competition. It was nice to get two wins."
Colin O'Grady, a senior ranked 85th in the country in singles play, also won his first match of the competition beating Harknett 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 in the round of 32. O'Grady later lost to Brett Joelson of Texas A&M 6-4, 7-5 in the round of 16 and Baylor's Barry McLaren 6-3, 6-4 in the consolation bracket.
"I did not play as well as I would have liked to," O'Grady said. "Still, I got to play good matches which make it worth it to me. The competition was really good. They had a lot of top ranked players."
While O'Grady and Warkentin are roommates off the court the duo could not win any doubles matches on the court. They played Texas Tech's Michael Innerebner and Bojan Szumanski close, but could not squeak out a victory in a 9-7 loss.
Warkentin said that the UA received a very tough first round draw.
"We played some solid tennis," he said. "They came up with shots you wouldn't expect. They were good players so I tip my hat to them. I thought I was playing a couple of professionals."
Weather affected both Arizona players on Saturday with the Midland temperature a cool 46 degrees with winds blowing in the mid-teens.
"It was a factor but not too much of a factor," O'Grady said. "It's something we have to get used to for some road matches later in the season."
The Wildcats will take the court next weekend at the Roley West Regional in Malibu, Calif.