Oct. 18, 2003
MEMPHIS -- Tennessee senior Simon Rea won two singles matches Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals of the ITA Southeast Regional Indoor Championships at The Racquet Club of Memphis. Mississippi State senior Romain Ambert, the No. 4 seed, is Rea's quarterfinal opponent.
Playing as the tournament's No. 5 seed, Rea took on Central Florida senior Antonio Sierra in the round of 32 Saturday morning. It took three sets, but Rea earned the win, and advanced to play Ole Miss freshman Fredrik Aarum in the round of 16. The young Norwegian Rebel won the first set, but Rea made the necessary adjustments and cruised to victory, winning the final two sets 6-3, 6-2.
"Simon had two good matches [Saturday]," Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt said. "Both were tough matches, and that's exactly what we need for Simon at this stage, as he's coming back from his (arm) injury. He showed the great fighting spirit that we've seen in recent years from Simon."
Rea is no stranger to success at this event. As a junior last season, he toppled three consecutive ranked players during a determined dash to the Region III singles semifinals, thus solidifying his current position among the elite competitors in men's collegiate tennis. The stoic senior currently owns a career-best ITA singles ranking of No. 12 in the nation, and will challenge the speedy and precise Ambert Sunday for a chance to return to the regional indoors semifinal round.
The entire singles quarterfinal field has now been set, and the SEC owns a strong presence among the final eight competitors. Six of the eight quarterfinalists are from the SEC. Those players include Rea, Ambert, Georgia's Bo Hodge, Kentucky's Jesse Witten, LSU's Ken Skupski and Vanderbilt's Zach Dailey.
In doubles action Saturday, the No. 5-seeded Tennessee tandem of Orr and Rea faced the Georgia team of Stephan Timu and Jason Varela in the round of 32. The Rocky Top tandem posted an 8-6 win, and advanced to square off against the Georgia State duo of Miha Lisac and Jaime Rodriguez. The Panther partners recorded their seventh consecutive win as they handed the Tennessee team an 8-3 defeat Saturday night.
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 -- Saturday,
Oct. 18, 2003
Main Singles Draw - Round of 32
No. 5 Rea (UT) def. Sierra (Central Florida), 7-6, 4-6, 6-4
Main Singles Draw - Round of 16
No. 5 Rea (UT) def. Aarum (Ole Miss), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Main Doubles Draw - Round of 32
No. 5 Orr/Rea (UT) def. Timu/Varela (Georgia), 8-6