GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Up against the best competition in the Midwest, the top five players from the Forester men’s tennis team battled at the ITA Regionals Championships hosted by Davenport University this past weekend but came up empty handed in their quest to qualify for Nationals.
Vlad Khudziy entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and claimed two wins on Thursday, knocking off Davenport’s Matheus Carvalho 5-7, 6-2 (5) and then cruising past Gaston Raposo of Indiana Tech 6-1, 6-2, before being stunned by Raposo’s teammate, Sriram Aranganathan. The unranked Warrior knocked Khudziy out of the tourney 2-6, 7-5 (5) on Friday to deny the HU senior his third ITA Regional Championship title.
In other singles action. Joseph Straznicky came up one match short of the semifinals. After disposing of Grace’s Mike Humphrey 6-1, 6-3 and Vasant Palanisamy of Goshen 6-4, 6-0, 13th-seeded Straznicky finally met his match in Grace’s Daniel Sanchez, who claimed a 6-1, 6-4 win to bring an abrupt end to Straznicky’s run in the tourney.
Diego Inurritegui had an easy time of it in his opening round, dominating IWU’s Daniel Smith 6-2, 6-2 before being knocked out by Aquinas’ Aaron Hendrick 6-3, 6-0.
Zakk Sparks and Jose Hungria didn’t fare as well, each dropping their first match to make an early exit from the singles tournament.
In addition to going deep into the singles tournament, Khudziy teamed up with Hungria to advance to the semifinals of the doubles tournament. The 2nd-seeded combo lived up to their billing through the first two days, making quick work of Davenport’s Pell/van Antwerpen 8-4.
The HU duo went on to slip past Mathews/White of IWU 9-7 and claim an 8-2 win over Denton/Pochop of Marian before the eventual doubles champions, UNOH’s Rueda/Myburgh, claimed an 8-4 win over the Huntington pair.
Straznicky and Inurritegui made it to the second round after beating Marian’s Albert/Trammel 8-4 while Sparks and Joe Brenneman came up short in their opening round, losing to IWU’s Wroughtin/Hornett 7-2 (def).
“The tournament has been good for our players,” said Coach Eckert. “It gave them a chance to play some of the top players in the Midwest and prepare for the conference tournament.
“I am proud of the way we played and worked hard to advance in all of our spots. We continue to fight hard and work on some areas of our game that will help us win the tough conference matches still to come.”
The Foresters are back in action on Tuesday when they host Spring Arbor at 4:00 p.m.