JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 7, 2004) - The first day of main draw competition began Thursday at the ICY/HOT ITA All American Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn. Sophomore Oscar Posada (Valencia, Venezuela) advanced to the main draw yesterday with a 6-1, 7-6 (3) win over Tony Haerle of Rice University.
Posada is the first Buccaneer since Gustavo Gomez in 2000 to advance to the main draw of an ITA national tournament. The main draw features 46 of the top 50 players in the preseason ITA singles rankings, who were automatic qualifiers for the final draw of 64.
"The Bucs are back in business," said an excited head coach Yaser Zaatini, who played in several ITA Grand Slam national tournaments during his playing career at ETSU. "I'm very proud of Oscar and how he is playing. I hope this is the start of a great future for him."
Posada played his first match of the main draw Thursday against No. 14 Alex Slovic of the University of Washington. The match was hard fought and went to a third set, but Posada was able to pull ahead with a final decision of 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
This win advanced Posada to the round of 32 where he was slotted to play No. 60 John Isner of the University of Georgia. Posada had already faced Isner earlier this fall season and had won in straight sets to advance in the Southern Intercollegiate. However, today Isner would deal Posada a tough 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 loss. His fall record for this season now stands at 7-2.
The men's tennis team will now have little over a week to regroup before traveling to the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C. from Oct. 15.
The Icy/Hot ITA All American Tournament is the first of three national championships for singles and doubles during the 2004-05 season. The Champions Club in Chattanooga, Tennessee hosts the men's section, which runs until Oct. 10. The singles tournament fields can run over 350 players, making it the largest collegiate event of the season. A player who begins in prequalifying may have to win up to seven matches just to reach the main draw. Over 70 schools from across the country will be sending players to compete.
This event has been played annually since 1979. A number of its past participants have enjoyed successful professional tennis careers, including 1999 U.S. Open finalist Todd Martin, formerly of Northwestern, and current pros like James Blake ('98 champ), Bob ('97 champ) and Mike Bryan, Alex Kim, Jeff Morrison and Brian Vahaly ('99 finalist). Washington's Alex Vlaski topped Baylor's Benedikt Dorsch in last year's singles final and Texas A&M's Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic beat Rice's Richard and William Barker in the doubles final.