Jan. 23, 2004
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The No. 18 TCU Horned Frogs open the 2004 campaign at home this Saturday, Jan. 24, against 68th-rated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The match will be played on the Bernard J. "Tut" Bartzen Varsity Tennis Courts at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. The event begins at noon with three doubles matches followed by Nos. 1-6 singles after a 10-minute intermission.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS
The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders already have three matches under their belts this season. They took on two of the best the Big 12 has to offer in Texas and Texas A&M and fell by 7-0 counts in each match. The Islanders came back with a 6-1 victory over Trinity after falling to the Aggies earlier in the day at College Station.
TCU and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi met for the first time last year on the exact same date in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs came out on top by a 6-1 score. The lone loss for TCU came at No. 1 singles, where Toni Gordon was dropped by Christophe Bergues, 6-4, 6-4.
A pair of Horned Frogs are currently ranked in the top-100 in singles in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's poll. Senior Alex Menichini is No. 44 in singles and junior Fabrizio Sestini is 75th. Sestini is also rated No. 19 in doubles with sophomore Rafael Abreu. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Goncalo Figeiredo is ranked No. 83 in singles. He is the only Islander who is currently ranked.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
TCU played an exhibition match Jan. 20 against the University of Sterling from Scotland and won by an 8-1 count. Four doubles matches were played and eight singles contests. The Frogs swept the doubles, losing a combined seven games between the four. In singles, TCU dominated Nos. 1-6 in straight sets. Sterling managed to get its only point at eight, where Stephen Wright defeated redshirt freshman Collin Hart in three stanzas, 6-2, 2-6, (10-5). The match of the day came at the No. 7 hole. Hart's classmate Craig Stopa was able to fight off four match points during the third set to win in a tiebreaker. Three of them came when he trailed in the breaker, 6-3. He ended up winning five rallies in a row to take the match.
SOME NEW FACES
The Horned Frogs snagged a couple of new faces for the spring with the additions of Hector Almada and Tobias Virdhage. Almada played two seasons at Fresno State and one at Fresno City College prior to coming to Cowtown. He entered last fall ranked No. 6 in doubles and was 76th in singles. Virdhage, a native of Sweden, is a three-time Swedish national champion and boast victories over some of the top players in the world, such as Daniel Klemetz, formerly of Middle Tennessee State. Klemetz won the 2002 ITA All-American Championships.
REPRESENTING THE WORLD
TCU's roster this season has six different countries represented. Besides the United States, the Horned Frogs have players from Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and Venezuela. The Frogs' Americans are senior Alex Menichini and freshmen Robert Gallman, Collin Hart, Craig Stopa, and Andrew Ulrich. Two Italians don the purple and white with juniors Fabrizio Sestini and Jacopo Tezza. The lone Mexican is senior Hector Almada and junior Jacob Martin hails from Spain. Freshman Tobias Virdhage is TCU's Swedish player.
A SOLID DOUBLES TEAM
The Horned Frogs have seen their ups and downs with doubles the past two years, but the tandem of sophomore Rafael Abreu and junior Fabrizio Sestini seems to have them heading back in the right direction. The duo started the fall slow but came alive at the ITA South Central Regional Championships in October. Abreu and Sestini ripped through the field and ended up winning the doubles title by defeating a formidable tandem from Baylor. It allowed them to compete in the National Indoor Championships, making them the first Frogs to appear in the event since 1997.