TULSA, Okla. (May 22, 2008) - Junior Enrique Olivares (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) has built an impressive resume in 2008 and on Thursday the ETSU men's tennis sensation can add to the list of accomplishments after knocking off Ruben Gonzales (Illinois) to advance into tomorrow's round of 16 at the NCAA men's singles championships. Olivares won a three-set thriller over the nation's 42nd ranked player, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 from the Michael D. Case Tennis Center, located on the University of Tulsa's campus.
Olivares, who has already won the 2008 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, Tournament MVP, and A-Sun Player of the Week accolades, became just the second Buccaneer tennis star to advance into the field of 16 in ETSU history as well as the second player in the program's existence to receive All-American honors. In addition, Olivares is the first player in Atlantic Sun history to make it this far in the NCAA singles championship.
"To see Enrique's transformation of play right now is unbelievable," said head coach Yaser Zaatini, who was the first ETSU tennis player to reach the Sweet 16 and receive All-American honors in program history. "He has made huge strides all season and is playing his best tennis right now."
Olivares charged out to a 3-1 lead in the first set, meanwhile, Gonzales managed to pull to within a single game on two separate occasions (4-3 and 5-4), but the Buccaneer star did an excellent job controlling serve to come out ahead 6-4 in the pivotal opening set.
Down 2-1 in the second set, Olivares found himself in a little trouble; however, after battling back from a 30-40 deficit, the nation's 57th ranked player went on to win three consecutive points to even things up at 2-2. From there, Olivares looked to have Gonzales on the ropes by jumping out to a love-40 lead in the next game, but the Fighting Illini senior quickly strung together five straight points to go back up, 3-2. The rally proved to be the difference maker in the set as Gonzales went on to even things at, 6-4. To Olivares' credit he never let up in the set as he gained advantage while trailing 4-2, but Gonzales was able to force deuce and win back-to-back points. Then the Venezuelan native won eight straight points, narrowing the deficit to 5-4, but could not muster up enough momentum to even the set at five apiece.
In the third and final set, Olivares did a tremendous job breaking serve to take an early 2-1 advantage. The break gave him all the confidence in the world as Olivares went on to win the decisive set, 6-4.
With the win, Olivares' record improved to 27-7 on the season and it also marked his third win over a player ranked in the top-50 on the year. Gonzales ended his career with a 19-12 record in 2008.
Olivares will square off with
To access live scoring and video of Friday's match, visit http://tulsahurricane.cstv.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/tennis-central-menssingsbracket.html or click on the link above.
For a complete recap of Olivares' match versus Smith, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.