March 16, 2004
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HORNED FROGS' MATCH #13:
#15 TCU (11-1) vs. #31 Miami (9-2)
March 17, 2004 * Fort Worth, Texas * Noon CST
Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center * Tut Bartzen Varsity Tennis Courts
The 11-1 and No. 15-ranked Horned Frogs return home for their next match with 9-2 and No. 31 Miami Wednesday, March 17, at noon CST. The match will be played on the Tut Bartzen Varsity Tennis Courts at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
The Hurricanes are 9-2 this year with wins over SMU (4-3), USF (4-3), Florida Atlantic (6-1), Florida A&M (7-0), Jacksonville (6-1), Western Michigan (7-0), Notre Dame (5-2), UCF (7-0) and Pennsylvania (5-2). Miami lost its last two matches to Florida State (4-3) and Texas A&M (6-1).
THE SERIES HISTORY
TCU owns a 5-11 record all-time against Miami. The Horned Frogs lost last year's meeting in Coral Gables by a 5-2 count. TCU defeated the Hurricanes last time they visited Cowtown by a 6-1 score, the most lopsided margin in the series history. Ten of the 16 matches have been decided by one point. TCU's other four victories came in 1986, twice in 1992 and once in 1995.
TCU is ranked 15th as a team. One Horned Frog, Alex Menichini, is ranked in the top-100 in singles in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's poll at No. 40. Hector Almada and Jacopo Tezza are rated 21st in doubles and Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini are ranked No. 36. Miami is 31st as a team and has no ranked individuals in singles or doubles play.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
Rafael Abreu tried to keep the No. 7 TCU men's tennis team's perfect season in tact Saturday, but Tom Murray of No. 51 Tulsa won a third-set tiebreaker to give the Golden Hurricane the 4-3 upset. The Horned Frogs are now 11-1 on the year, while Tulsa improves to 9-6. The doubles point proved to be the difference in the match. Dustin Taylor and Alejandro Tejerina upset TCU's 36th-ranked duo of Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini at one by an 8-5 count. Aleksander Charpantidis and Tom Murray clinched the point for the Golden Hurricane with a 9-7 upset at two against No. 21 Hector Almada and Jacopo Tezza. The Frogs' Jacob Martin and Alex Menichini kept their perfect doubles mark in place thanks to a 9-8 victory at the No. 3 hole against Diego Camacho and Shunsuke Shimizu. Martin and Menichini are now 12-0 overall and 11-0 at three doubles. Almada evened things up at one apiece when he downed Shimizu at the No. 3 position in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, for his fourth-straight win. Martin picked up a 7-5, 6-2 triumph at six over Federico Soriano to give the Horned Frogs the 2-1 lead. Taylor, ranked 76th, snapped Sestini's seven-match winning streak at No. 2 singles to tie the score once again, and No. 82 Tejerina ousted No. 40 Menichini, 6-4, 6-3, at one to regain the lead for Tulsa. TCU would not go quietly and Tezza deadlocked the match once again when he defeated Charpantidis at four, 6-3, 7-6, for his sixth win in a row. As all eyes turned to Abreu and Murray's match at five, Murray had taken an early break in the third set and was up 2-0. Abreu fought back to win the next four games and then after taking a 5-3 lead, he had a few match points in the ninth game. Murray, though, refused to give up and managed to save the game and went on to win the next two. Once the match went into a tiebreaker, Abreu ran out of gas and fell, 7-3.
Jacopo Tezza has won his last six matches and Jacob Martin has been experiencing a great deal of success as well, winning his last five decisions. Hector Almada has won four in a row as well. In doubles, Martin and Alex Menichini are still perfect on the season with a 12-0 record. They have gone 11-0 at No. 3 doubles.
BACK TO OUR OLD FORM
The TCU men's tennis team ascended back into the nation's top-10 Feb. 24 coming in tied for sixth with Stanford. The following week, TCU returned to the top-5 at fifth. The No. 5 rating was the highest for TCU since the 2001 campaign when the Horned Frogs spent the entire year ranked in the top-10 and were as high as No. 2. They reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships and finished 2001 rated fifth. Individually, senior Alex Menichini cracked the top-25 in singles at No. 22. He was the highest ranked player for TCU since Esteban Carril, who starred for the Purple and White from 1997-2001. Carril's best ranking was fourth during his senior year. Sophomore Rafael Abreu and junior Fabrizio Sestini came in at No. 10 in doubles, giving the Horned Frogs their first top-10 duo since Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith in 1997.
WE'RE MONEY AT THESE TWO
The Horned Frogs have been unbeatable so far at two singles positions. At No. 4, Jacopo Tezza has gone 10-0 and Rafael Abreu is 1-0 there. Jacob Martin has eight wins at six singles and Robert Gallman has accounted for the other two.
RESTORING DOUBLES DOMINANCE
TCU has historically experienced a great deal of success in doubles, but the last two years have been a little bit of a struggle. This season, the Horned Frogs have returned to their old form and are 26-8 in dual matches. They have only dropped two doubles points this season. Two years ago, TCU was a mere 25-40 in doubles and last season the Frogs went 37-31. The biggest win this year came when Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini topped Texas A&M's tandem of Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic, 8-4. Cook and Matijevic were the No. 1-rated duo in the nation at the time. The win was critical, as it allowed TCU to win the doubles point, which proved to be the difference in the match.
WHAT A START
By knocking off No. 18 Pepperdine March 8, the Horned Frogs moved their record to 11-0, tying the 1981 squad for the best start in school history. The school record for longest winning streak is 16 matches coming in 1989 when TCU made its first appearance in the NCAA Final Four.
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 boasts 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 and sophomore Rafael Abreu is Venezuelan.
Last fall, TCU cleaned up on the Conference USA monthly tennis award. For September, the recognition was given to Alex Menichini for reaching the semifinals of the Baylor Intercollegiates. He won three matches during the tourney and defeated one ranked player in Baylor's Matija Zgaga. He fell in the semis to the nation's then-No. 1 Benedikt Dorsch, also from Baylor. Fabrizio Sestini was awarded the accolade for October after he reached the quarters of the Midland Open and the ITA South Central Regional Championships. He also teamed up with Rafael Abreu to win the doubles title at the ITA Regional, allowing them to become the first TCUers to qualify for the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships since 1997. Menichini took home some more praise from C-USA when he was tabbed Athlete of the Week after TCU upended UTA and Colorado. He went 2-0 at one singles and three doubles with Jacob Martin that week. One week after Menichini got the award, Rafael Abreu took home the prize for TCU after winning critical matches against Texas A&M and Florida State. Jacopo Tezza became TCU's third winner of the weekly accolade when he helped TCU defeat SMU, Washington and Pepperdine.
BOTH ALMA MATERS GO DOWN
Assistant Coach Cory Hubbard saw the TCUers down his alma mater Texas A&M Feb. 15 in Fort Worth, 4-3. Hubbard graduated from A&M in December 2000 with a degree in marketing after playing for the Aggies from 1996-2000. He was also a volunteer coach for A&M for a year. Head Coach Joey Rivé escaped with a 4-3 victoy over Florida State Feb. 22, allowing the coaching staff to go undefeated this year against its alma maters. Rivé is a 1993 graduate of FSU with a Bachelor's degree in psychology. He is considered one of the great Seminoles in school history and was inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1999. He won 74 singles and 47 doubles matches during his time with FSU. His 33 singles victories in 1983 is still the second-most for a single season in school history. Rivé was also an assistant coach for the Seminoles for a year when he returned to finish his degree after playing on the ATP Tour.
A RICH NCAA HISTORY
The Horned Frogs have a rich tradition of excellence in the NCAA Tournament. TCU has made 18 appearances in the event since the current team format was adopted in 1977. TCU has been in every tourney since 1991 and made 16 of the past 17 NCAAs. The Purple and White owns a record of 23-18 in the tournament and has made three appearances (1989, 1996, 2001) in the national semifinals. TCU has also reached at least the NCAA quarterfinals on seven occasions (1982, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001). In the individual championships, TCU had a string of 27 consecutive appearances from 1975 to 2001. During that span, TCU won one doubles title, coming in 1981 with Karl Richter and David Pate. In 1996, Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith finished as the runner-ups. Several Horned Frogs reached the round of 16 in singles, but Esteban Carril is the only one to advance to the quarterfinals. Carril made his run his sophomore year in 1999.
NEW TEAM BUILDING DEDICATED
The new TCU Tennis Team Building was dedicated Jan. 30, 2004. The latest addition to TCU's assortment of facilities houses the men's and women's coaching staffs and provides locker rooms for the men and women. Other amenities in the complex include a spacious lounge area with a big screen television, a laundry and equipment room, a computer workstation for student-athletes and a racket stringing area. The building cost about $700,000 to construct and was finished last December after breaking ground in June.
TCU ADDS LIVE MATCH SCORING
TCU offers fans something new this season with the addition of live match scoring via the Internet. It is featured on the official Web site of TCU athletics, www.GoFrogs.com. Updates from the match are given periodically as the players progress and the order of finish, along with match notes, are also available on the page.
ABOUT THE ITA RANKINGS
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association's team rankings are released on a weekly basis every Tuesday afternoon. The individual rankings for singles and doubles are released biweekly. The team rankings are determined by a vote of the ITA National Rankings Committee until March 23. On that date, rankings will be calculated using a computer formula. On April 6, the singles rankings will expand from a top-100 to a top-125. The doubles will go from a top-50 to a top-60. The final rankings for the season will be released June 4.