March 29, 2004
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HORNED FROGS' MATCH #16
#11 TCU (13-2) at #2 Baylor (16-2)
March 30, 2004 * Waco, Texas * 6 p.m. CST
Baylor Tennis Center
The 13-2 and No. 11-ranked TCU Horned Frogs face a challenging test on the road March 30 when they take on No. 2 Baylor in Waco at 6 p.m. CST. The match will be played at the Baylor Tennis Center.
Baylor is 16-2 this season with its two losses coming at the hands of Mississippi and Southern California. The Bears fell to Ole Miss, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle in February. Baylor was dropped by the same score by the Trojans Feb. 28 in Los Angeles. BU has registered wins over some of the top teams in the country including Florida, Kentucky, UCLA, Pepperdine, VCU and Stanford. All six teams are currently ranked in the top-25.
THE SERIES HISTORY
Starting with the 1974 season, TCU owns a record of 32-7 against Baylor, however, the Bears have won six of the past eight meetings. After the Horned Frogs claimed 30 matches in a row from 1975-1998, the Bears picked up a 5-2 victory from the Purple and White in Waco in 1999. Baylor went on to win the next two by the same score. TCU upset Baylor by a 4-1 count in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships in 2000 and then punished the Bears in the regular season the following year, winning 7-0 at the Friedman Tennis Center. Baylor has currently won three in a row over the Frogs. BU also knocked TCU out of the NCAA Tournament last year in the second round in Waco by a 4-0 score.
TCU is ranked 11th 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. 41. Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini are ranked No. 19 in doubles. Baylor is No. 2 as a team and sports four ranked individuals in singles and two ranked doubles teams. Benedikt Dorsch leads the way with a No. 2 rating followed by Benjamin Becker at 13th. Matija Zgaga is No. 67 and Matias Marin is rated 85th. Dorsch and Ivor Lovrak are No. 10 in doubles and Dorsch also holds a No. 23 billing with Zgaga.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
The 11th-ranked TCU men's tennis team dropped its second match of 2004 Thursday afternoon, faltering to No. 6 Rice by a 4-3 count. The match was played outdoors on the Tut Bartzen Varsity Tennis Courts at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. TCU is 13-2 on the year, while Rice remains unbeaten at 17-0. The loss snapped the Frogs' 18-match winning streak against the Owls. Previously, Rice had not defeated TCU since March 11, 1989, when it was victorious by a 5-4 tally in Houston. The Frogs did themselves a disservice by failing to capture the doubles point. At one, Rice's fourth-ranked duo of twin brothers Richard and William Barker registered an 8-5 triumph over Hector Almada and Jacopo Tezza. Ben Harknett and Robert Searle gave the Owls the 1-0 lead when they put the first blemish on Jacob Martin and Alex Menichini's slate together. They were 14-0 before Harknett and Searle got the 8-5 win. TCU's 19th-ranked tandem of Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini prevented Rice from getting the sweep. They were 8-6 winners against Konstantin Haerle and Vuk Rajevac at the No. 2 slot. No. 36-ranked Searle got Rice's second point quickly by downing Almada at the No. 1 position, 6-1, 6-0. The Frogs won their first point when Martin disposed of Harknett at six, 7-5, 6-4, to extend his winning streak to eight matches. He is 16-7 on the year and 10-0 at No. 6 singles. Rice climbed to within a point of clinching the match when Rajevac beat Abreu in straight sets at five, 7-6, 6-3. The Purple and White refused to go away and Tezza cut the Rice advantage to one, 3-2, by defeating Haerle at four singles, 6-3, 7-6. It was Tezza's eighth win in a row and pushed his record on the season to 22-6. Sestini and Richard Barker's match at the third spot decided the team victor. Barker had a chance to serve out the match up a set and 5-4 in the second, but Sestini broke back. After Sestini had his serve broken, he did the same to Barker to send the match into a tiebreaker. Barker went on to win 7-2 in the breaker. Up 4-2, No. 69-ranked William Barker withdrew from his match with No. 41 Menichini at two up 5-3 in the second set. Menichini won the first by a 7-6 count and was awarded the victory by default.
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.
RIVE CLOSING IN ON 100
TCU coach Joey Rivé is closing in the 100-win mark for his career. Currently, he is 96-72 in his seven years of head coaching. Rivé has gone 64-27 in his four years at the helm of TCU.
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 12-0 and Rafael Abreu and Jacob Martin are 1-0 there. Martin has 10 wins at six singles and Robert Gallman has accounted for the other two victories.
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 32-11 in dual matches. They have only dropped three 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 National Semifinals.
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. Jacob Martin grabbed the honors for TCU for the fourth time of the spring after posting wins against Miami and Boise State.
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 were determined by a vote of the ITA National Rankings Committee until March 23. Rankings are now 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 will be released June 4.