Agostinelli Advances to Second Round of NCAA Singles Championships
May 20, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Playing on his opponent's home court, Kentucky men's tennis senior Bruno Agostinelli only surrendered four games to Will Spencer of Texas A&M during a 6-1, 6-3, first round match win of the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships at the Aggies' Mitchell Tennis Center Wednesday afternoon.
Agostinelli's win is the first for any Kentucky player at the NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships since former Wildcat Jesse Witten advanced to the quarterfinals during the 2005 season.
Fifth-seeded Agostinelli controlled the match from early on in the first set. Spencer won his game early in the first but Agostinelli swept the final three games of the set to close it out, 6-1.
Spencer, ranked 48th nationally, opened the second set with a service break then held serve for a 2-0 lead but the Wildcat roared back to take six of the final seven games for the 6-3 victory.
"This is a good, solid first round win for Bruno," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "He served well in the first set. In the second, Spencer began to play more aggressive and I thought Bruno did a good job of containing that while coming forward to finish off points."
With the win, Agostinelli improves to 35-13 on the season and advances to the round of 32 where he will face Johnny Parkes of New Mexico, ranked 77th in the country. The Lobo senior and Agostinelli have never met in collegiate competition. The match time has yet to be determined.
Parkes had a much tougher time in his first round match against Middle Tennessee's Robert McKenzie earlier in the day. McKenzie, ranked 89th in the nation, took the first set 6-3. But the Lobo found his game in sets two and three, posting a pair of 6-1 set wins to claim the match.
Agostinelli is in the bottom portion of the top half of the 64-man draw. One of the three other seeded players in Agostinelli's quarter of the draw was upset today by a Southeastern Conference player. No. 4 seed Denes Lukacs of Baylor lost to South Carolina's Diego Cubas 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Meanwhile, No. 9-16 seed Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech defeated Alabama's Saketh Myneni 6-4, 6-2.
Should Agostinelli win tomorrow and advance to the round of 16 he could face No. 9-16 Gomez or USC's Steve Johnson.
Agostinelli reached the No. 2 spot nationally in early March in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. During UK's final home stand of the regular season last month, Agostinelli earned his 100th career singles victory. Last fall he defeated then-No.1 Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State. Additionally, Agostinelli tallied four straight wins against 2008 NCAA Singles Finalist John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee this season. The Niagara Falls, Canada, native is only the second Wildcat all-time to win All-SEC honors all four seasons at UK.
The 2009 Southeast Region ITA Senior Player of the Year has battled 22 other NCAA selections 29 times this season while recording an admirable 16-13 record. Nine of those victories and 10 of those losses were against gentlemen seeded in the top 16 in this year's tournament.
Doubles play also begins on Thursday with match times to be determined. Agostinelli and sophomore partner Brad Cox rank 22nd nationally in the latest doubles rankings. As a tandem, the Cats stand at 19-15 overall this season.
The Wildcats should have vivid memories of their first round opponents - No. 5-8 seed Cory Parr and Steve Forman of Wake Forest. The last time the UK duo was in action on the court they fell to the Demon Deacons 8-3 in the second round of the NCAA Team Championships two weeks ago in Lexington.
Should the Cats advance in the doubles bracket, the pair would face the Oklahoma State tandem of Nathan Byrnes and Nedovyesov or the Florida State duo of Jean-Yves Aubone and Vahid Mirzadeh. Agostinelli and Cox are in the bottom portion of the lower half of the 32-team draw with the No. 4 duo of Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg from Georgia and the No. 2 Tennessee tandem of Davey Sandgren and John-Patrick Smith.
The UK pair faced 12 NCAA doubles team selections 14 times this year including two wins over the top-seeded team of Berg and tenBerge of Ole Miss.
Links for live updates and video of the 2009 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships can be found at the men's tennis page on UKathletics.com.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for a recap of each Wildcat match from the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.