Oct. 17, 2003
MEMPHIS - Tennessee tennis players Simon Rea, Wade Orr and Rawl Martin all posted wins Friday at the ITA Southeast Regional Indoor Championships at The Racquet Club of Memphis. Both Orr and Martin were eventually defeated by top-10 seeds, while No. 5-seeded Rea prepared for his Saturday morning round-of-32 contest.
Rea, the No. 5 seed, had an opening-round bye and saw his first action of the tournament against Auburn's Nick Lane in the round of 64. The Vol senior had little difficulty dispatching his Tiger opponent, recording a routine straight-set victory. The New Zealand native faces Central Florida senior Antonio Sierra in the round of 32 Saturday morning.
With only two singles matches under his belt this season, Orr faced Memphis junior Martin Tamla in the round of 128. The Clarksville native won the first set convincingly, only to see Tamla battle back and force a third set. Orr then exhibited the poise and determination of a senior veteran, capturing the deciding stanza by a score of 6-2.
Orr's win earned him the right to face No. 8-seeded Gabor Zoltan Pelva of Auburn in the round of 64. Having received an opening-round bye, Pelva entered the match fresh. Orr meanwhile, was forced to deal with the lingering effects of a nagging back injury, and was defeated in straight sets.
Martin's first match of the day saw him avenge one of the toughest losses of his freshman campaign. With last season's SEC dual match against No. 5-ranked Ole Miss tied at 3-3, Martin was defeated in the deciding match. The winner of that clinching contest, Rebel junior Karim Alayli, was Martin's first-round opponent Friday.
The Vol sophomore set out to even the score with his conference rival, but Alayli established the early momentum by winning the first set in a hard-fought tiebreaker. Shortly thereafter, that momentum hit a Big Orange brick wall, as Martin yielded only one more game on his way to an impressive and convincing victory in his hometown.
"Rawl's first match [Friday] was a sign of the continual improvement he is making," Fancutt said. "He lost the deciding contest against Alayli in the dual match with Ole Miss last season, so to come back this year and beat the guy decisively-6-1, 6-0 in the last two sets-is really encouraging."
The No. 9 seed, Alabama's Chris Gostek, then awaited Martin in the round of 64. Gostek exhibited a solid all-around game on his way to a 6-1, 6-3 win, thus eliminating the young Vol.
Doubles action begins Saturday, and the Tennessee tandem of Orr and Rea has garnered the No. 5 seed. They will be granted a first-round bye, and will play a team from either Georgia or UT-Martin in the round of 32 Saturday afternoon.
The Southeast Regional-co-hosted by the University of Memphis-is one of nine NCAA Division I men's regional tournaments that will be taking place at sites throughout the nation during the month of October. All singles finalists and doubles champions from the various regional events are granted automatic entry into the main draw of the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, which takes place Nov. 6-9 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
ITA Southeast Regional Indoor Championships Results - Friday, Oct. 17, 2003
Main Singles Draw - Round of 128
Martin (UT) def. Alayli (Ole Miss), 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-0
Orr (UT) def. Tamla (Memphis), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2
Main Singles Draw - Round of 64
No. 5 Rea (UT) def. Lane (Auburn), 6-4, 6-4
No. 8 Pelva (Auburn) def. Orr (UT), 6-2, 6-4
No. 9 Gostek (Alabama) def. Martin (UT), 6-1, 6-3