The USF men’s tennis team enjoyed a good opening weekend to its fall schedule, compiling a 14-12 combined individual record at the Moore Invitational in Lexington, Ky.
The tournament, attended by USF, Kentucky, Mississippi, Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State and Indiana State, consisted of three flights. The ranked flight featured players listed by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in the preseason. The A flight consisted of players mainly competing at Nos. 3-5 in singles competition, while the B flight consisted of the players normally in the Nos. 6-8 positions.
Senior Uli Kiendl led the Bulls in the ranked flight, posting a 2-1 individual record. Kiendl remained undefeated until his final match, falling to No. 9 Jesse Witten of Kentucky in straight sets Sunday. Kiendl, who entered the tournament ranked No. 27, earned victories against No. 98 Evan Austin of Kentucky and No. 19 Paul Ciorascu of Ole Miss.
“It looks like he’s starting where he left off last year and that’s what I liked,” USF coach Don Barr said. “Anyone who is in the top 100 is a very strong player. He handled the No. 19 very well, and although he was sore (Sunday), he still came very close (to beating Witten).”
Along with Kiendl, Barr praised the effort of Matias Sigal, who posted a perfect record in the B flight and was voted player of the week by his teammates.
“He was a good surprise,” Barr said. “He was very sick in his last match, but he fought through and felt a little better, and then turned around and won.”
Another surprise this weekend was the lackluster performance of senior Paco Antelo, who posted a 1-3 record in the ranked flight during the tournament.
Antelo, who was ranked No. 53 entering the tournament, won his first match before dropping three consecutive, including a straight-set loss Sunday against No. 10 Catalin Gard of Ole Miss.
“Paco just has to get in better shape,” Barr said. “When there is more on the line, team-wise, he seems to have better focus. I haven’t figured out why he struggles in the fall, but he seems like he puts a bigger effort when he can see (where the team stands).”
The fall tournaments help players achieve higher individual rankings, as well as help their respective teams climb the polls.
Barr doesn’t put a lot of pressure on his team regarding rankings, preferring instead to let the tournament play itself out.
“Rankings to me, you really can’t do much,” Barr said. “You have to just go out and compete. If you get too wrapped up in the rankings, you put too much pressure on yourself.”
The Bulls’ next match begins Friday at the Florida Invitational in Gainesville.