Sept. 27, 2003
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - Tennessee tennis players Rawl Martin and Johnny Thornton hit the courts Friday at the adidas Collegiate Invitational, an individual-competition event at the Peachtree City Tennis Center. Martin, a sophomore, posted two singles victories over upperclassmen to preserve his perfect record this fall.
Competing out of the men's main singles draw, Martin and Thornton both faced Louisville netters in the first round Friday morning. Martin disposed of Cardinal junior Mark Kennedy to extend his fall winning streak to five matches. Then, in the round of 32, Martin overcame a one-set deficit to eliminate Arizona State senior Chris Stewart. Martin has yet to suffer a loss this season.
"(Against Mark Kennedy,) Rawl Martin played the best match I've seen him play since he's been at UT," Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt said. "It's good to see his game progressing with the hard work and good attitude he's displayed."
Thornton, meanwhile, was defeated by experienced UL senior Matt Mayer, setting up a consolation round-of-32 matchup with Wisconsin freshman Lachezar Kasarov. In that contest, Thornton captured the first set, lost the second set in a tiebreaker and then persevered to defeat the Bulgarian Badger with a gutsy third-set comeback.
"Johnny Thornton showed a great fighting attitude to come back from 4-1 down in the third set to win the match 6-4 in the third," Fancutt said. "That's the sort of fighting spirit we need to be successful with this young team this year."
Play continues Saturday as Martin faces Louisville freshman Damar Johnson in the round of 16, and Thornton squares-off against Arizona State sophomore Ryan McBride in the consolation draw.
adidas Collegiate Invitational - Friday, Sept. 26
Men's Singles Main Draw - Round of 64
Martin (UT) def. Kennedy (Louisville) , 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Mayer (Louisville) def. Thornton (UT), 6-1, 6-1
Men's Singles Main Draw - Round of 32
Martin (UT) def. Stewart (Arizona State), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Men's Singles Consolation Draw - Round of 32
Thornton (UT) def. Kasarov (Wisconsin), 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-4