Baxendine Shines in Big Orange Debut; Thornton Also Advances in Athens

Sept. 24, 2004

Tournament Central

ATHENS, Ga. -- Newcomer David Baxendine led the way for Tennessee's men's tennis team Friday at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. The junior transfer won his first two matches as a Vol to advance to the round of 16 in the "2" singles flight.

Baxendine began his day at UGA's Dan Magill Tennis Complex with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Jarrel Williams of Florida A&M and followed that up with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 come-from-behind victory over Duke's Alex Stone. Baxendine's round-of-16 opponent Saturday is MTSU's Anant Sitaram.

"A highlight for us [Friday] was David Baxendine, who played very well in his first tournament as a Vol," Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt said. "He showed great fighting spirit and played the best tennis I've seen him play."

Tennessee's Johnny Thornton began his sophomore season in fine form by defeating Mercer's Nathan Starr 6-4, 6-3. Thornton meets Alabama freshman Taylor Striplin Saturday in the second round of the "3" singles draw.

Sophomore Ockie Oosthuizen -- the No. 12-seeded player in the "1" draw -- dropped his opening match to Florida State's Jeff Groslimond 6-2, 6-2. Oosthuizen then went on to lose in the consolation flight 6-3, 6-2 to Fredrik Aarum of Ole Miss.

Kiril Tcherveniachki overcame a one-set deficit to defeat Vanderbilt's Jason Pinsky 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of "1" singles action. The New Zealand native battled No. 3-seeded Antonio Ruiz of Georgia in the second round, but was forced to retire after cramping in the Georgia heat.



Vols junior Rawl Martin went the comeback route as he rallied to defeat Charlotte's Marlo Santoso 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. In second-round action, Martin was downed by Florida's Jordan Dolberg, the No. 2 seed in the "2" singles draw, 6-3, 6-4.

Despite Tcherveniachki's and Martin's eventual losses Friday, Fancutt was pleased with the poise they showed early in the tournament.

"Kiril (Tcherveniachki) and Rawl Martin both showed great fight in come-from-behind victories [Friday] morning." Fancutt said.

Tennessee sophomore Matthew Berry lost his opening-round match in the "2" draw to Georgia's Francisco Sura 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and will received a bye into Saturday morning's consolation quarterfinals.

Fellow sophomore Ben Rogers, the top seed in the "2" singles draw, was upset by ETSU's Felix Insaurralde 6-1, 6-2 in the first round Friday. Rogers then faced Florida's Ryan Sherry in the consolation bracket, and dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision to the Gators junior.

Doubles action begins Saturday afternoon, with three Vols pairing slated to compete.



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