April 1, 2004
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HORNED FROGS' MATCHES #17 & #18
#14 TCU (13-3) at #6 Duke (14-5) * April 2 * 2:15 p.m. CST
#14 TCU (13-3) at #12 Virginia (16-1) * April 4 * 11 a.m. CST
The 13-3 and No. 14-ranked TCU Horned Frogs face a couple of formidable tests on the road Friday and Sunday against No. 6 Duke and No. 12 Virginia from the ACC. Friday's match with the Blue Devils has been changed from a 3 p.m. CST start to 2:15 p.m. The Frogs contend with the Cavaliers at 11 a.m. TCU is hoping to snap a two-match losing streak.
ABOUT DUKE AND VIRGINIA
Duke sports a 14-5 record this season with seven wins over top-25 opponents. The Blue Devils have knocked off a couple of squads that were ranked No. 4 at the time of the match in Vanderbilt and Southern California. They also own a couple of victories against Texas A&M and one each versus VCU, Texas and UCLA. Virginia is 16-1 on the season with the lone loss coming at the hands of top-rated Illinois Feb. 27 in Champaign, Ill. UVa has won seven matches in a row.
THE SERIES HISTORIES
TCU owns a 5-6 record against Duke. The first meeting came March 10, 1981 and resulted in a 6-3 victory for the Blue Devils. The Frogs are 0-3 all-time in Durham and have dropped the last two match-ups. TCU and Virginia will meet for the first time Sunday.
TCU is ranked 14th 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. Duke is No. 6 as a team and has two ranked players in singles with Phillip King and Ludovic Walter at Nos. 7 and 12. Walter and Jason Zimmerman are the nation's third-ranked doubles team, while King and Jonathan Stokke are No. 7. UVa is 12th as a team and Doug Stewart is rated 21st in singles. Rylan Rizza and Nick Meythaler are No. 14 as a doubles team.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
The No. 14 TCU men's tennis team suffered its second loss in a row Tuesday night in Waco, falling to the second-ranked Baylor Bears, 6-1, at the Baylor Tennis Center. It was the Bears fourth victory in a row against the Horned Frogs, who dropped to 13-3 with the loss. Baylor moved its record to 17-2. The Bears easily claimed the doubles point, winning all three positions. At one, the 23rd-ranked combo of Benedikt Dorsch and Matija Zgaga snagged an 8-3 win from Hector Almada and Jacopo Tezza. The clincher came at three doubles, where Ivor Lovrak and Reiner Neurohr picked up an 8-4 decision from Jacob Martin and Alex Menichini. The icing on the cake was Benjamin Becker and Matias Marin's 9-7 upset of No. 19-rated Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini at the No. 2 hole. Baylor quickly went up 2-0 when Lovrak downed Robert Gallman at the bottom of the lineup in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. The nation's No. 2-ranked player, Dorsch, put Baylor within a point of its 17th triumph when he sent Almada home with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat. Zgaga, ranked 67th, secured the win thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 conquest of Tezza at the fourth spot. TCU managed to get one victory on the night to avoid a whitewashing when Sestini pulled off an upset at three singles against No. 85 Marin, 6-4, 6-4. It was his third win on the season versus a ranked foe and improved his record to 18-7 and 12-3 in dual matches. Thirteenth-rated Becker was a 6-2, 6-3 victor at the top slot against No. 41 Menichini. Martin lost to Neurohr at five singles in a third-set super tiebreaker, 10-5. Neurohr won the first set, 6-4, and Martin was a 6-3 winner in the second frame.
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 96-73 in his seven years of head coaching. Rivé has gone 64-28 in his four years at the helm of TCU.
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 32-14 in dual matches. They have only dropped four 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.