“It’s great to watch our guys compete against such high quality players,” Tennessee head tennis coach Sam Winterbotham said. “We had three guys win in the first round and those wins will go along way in establishing some confidence headed into the spring season.
This is such a great event for our community and our program. Our tennis players are going to benefit so much from playing against some of the world’s best players and I’m really excited for Knoxville to be able to see some of the bright, young tennis stars of the future.”
Boris Conkic, Chris Racz and Jeremy Tweedt picked up victories in the first round. Conkic defeated Bradley Cox in a third-set tiebreaker to advance. Conkic won the first set and after dropping the second set he was able to rebound and defeat Cox in the third set to win 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5). Conkic dropped his second round qualifying match to Philip Bester, the No. 2 seed in qualifying, 6-4, 6-2. Racz defeated teammate Matt Brewer 6-4, 6-4 to advance. In the next round, Racz fell to Travis Rettenmaier 6-2, 6-3. Tweedt defeated former Kentucky player Carey Rubin in the first round 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. In the second round, Tweedt lost to the No. 1 seed in qualifying, Luka Gregorc, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Former Vols Ben Rogers and Kiril Tcherveniachki played in the tournament also. Rogers won his first round match over James Moye to advance to the second round. In the second round, the former All-America fell to Justin Diao Natale. Tcherveniachki dropped his first round match to Brad Pomeroy.
Several rising young American stars will be playing at the Challenger including John Isner, a standout from SEC foe Georgia. The 6’9” towering power server made his Grand Slam debut at this year’s US Open and picked up wins over No. 26 Nieminen and De Voest before falling to eventual champion Roger Federer in four sets in the third round. He won the opening set in a tie-break and that was Federers’ only tie-break loss in Grand Slam play (15-1) during the year.
Another exciting young player is Donald Young. The 18 year-old lefty has steadily made a name for himself in the tennis world, climbing to a career high ranking of 106. He turned pro in 2004 at the ripe old age of 15. Amer Delic, Alex Kuznetsov and Sam Warburg are also some great up and coming players competing at the Knoxville Challenger.
The event is being hosted at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center on the UT campus. Like previous events held here the Knoxville Challenger will showcase some of the best professional tennis players in the world. Tickets are only $5.00 for the whole day, with matches beginning at 10am each day and ending with a final match at 6 p.m.
Boris Conkic (UT) def. Bradley Cox 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5)
Chris Racz (UT) def. Matt Brewer (UT) 6-4, 6-4
Jeremy Tweedt (UT) def. Carey Rubin 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Ben Rogers def. James Moye 6-1, 6-4
Brad Pomeroy def. Kiril Tcherveniachki 7-6(2), 6-1
Philip Bester def. Boris Conkic (UT) 6-4, 6-2
Luka Gregorc def. Jeremy Tweedt (UT) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Travis Rettenmaier def. Chris Racz (UT) 6-2, 6-3
Justin Diao Natale def. Ben Rogers 6-1, 6-2