Quigley Defeats No. 1-Ranked Player, Defends Singles Title
Oct. 25, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky men's tennis star Eric Quigley continued his impressive play this fall, taking down Intercollegiate Tennis Association's No. 1-ranked player John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee (6-3, 7-6 (5)) to claim his second consecutive singles title at the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Indoor Championships Monday.
"I think the fact that I had already qualified for the National Indoors really helped me played laid back and confident today," Quigley said. "I felt confident in my serve today and I have to give credit to JP, because he played great. It was a fun match."
The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., was brilliant in the final for Kentucky, claiming the straight-sets 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory. Quigley and Smith went back and forth in the first set, with Quigley breaking Smith to take a commanding lead in the match and win the first set 6-3. In the second set, Quigley had eight break points to try to take control of the match, but Smith fought back and held serve. With Smith up 6-5, Quigley held serve to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Quigley took the lead first before Smith came back to take a 5-4 edge. Quigley then won three straight points to claim the tiebreaker and the match.
"Eric was just really, really good today," Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery said. "When he needed a point he increased the level of his game and got it. He has played at a very high level towards the ends of these finals and today was no different. This is probably one of the best matches that I have seen him play since he has been at Kentucky.
"JP showed why he is the No. 1 player in the country because he took our best shot today. He (Smith) is a lot like playing against a coach because we pushed him to the limit today, but he keep fighting and played great."
This marks the second time in his career that Quigley has defeated the No. 1 ranked player in the country. Last year, Quigley took down the top-ranked Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State, in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships. This is the first time in three chances that Quigley has defeated Smith.
"The great thing about this match was that it was college tennis at its finest," Emery said. "You have two great competitors and sportsmen and there were no cheap shots or problems with players or coaches. Eric and JP both played hard and it was refreshing to watch."
Quigley now advances to the 2010 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, taking place Nov. 4-7, at the new indoor facilities at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, located in Flushing, New York. Columbia University will serve as the tournament host.
The most unique element of the USTA/ITA Intercollegiate Championships program is the fact that all levels of varsity college tennis (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College) are competing in one comprehensive event, and any ITA varsity student-athlete has the opportunity to play and win at the prestigious USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The finals appearance is the third of the season for Quigley, who played in the ITA All-American Championships in early October. and Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic in September. Quigley is fresh off making school history at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., becoming only the sixth player in school history to play in the finals of a collegiate tennis grand slam tournament. Quigley joined former UK greats Jesse Witten, Carlos Drada, Cedric Kauffmann, Greg Van Emburgh and Rich Benson as the only players in Kentucky's rich history of tennis to play in one of the four collegiate grand slam tournaments.