By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Eduardo Mena's impressive run at the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships ends in the quarterfinals, as the two-time OVC Player of the Year closes out his stay in Knoxville as part of the final eight in a tournament that began with a field of 128 of the best single's players in the region.
Fellow senior Jorge Alfonzo was also tripped up in consolation bracket quarterfinals, following three-straight wins to make it all the way to Sunday.
Mena, the region's fourth-ranked player, was upended, 4-6, 4-6 by Kentucky's Ryotaro Matsumura, the region's fifth-ranked player Sunday morning inside UT's Goodfriend Tennis Center. Mena previously won four matches in the tourney, taking down Belmont's Vincent Sterkens, Dayton's Zach Berry, MTSU's Gian Issa and Louisville's Parker Wynn, the region's ninth-ranked player.
Alfonzo was unable to get past Indiana's Brandon Lam in the consolation quarterfinals, falling 4-6, 7-5, 5-10. Alfonzo collected consolation nods over Wright State's Marcel Ueltzhoeffer, Butler's Spencer Lang and Xavier's Jan Vrba en route to securing a spot in the final eight.
Mena will now set his sights on one of the nation's most exclusive events of the season; the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships at the beginning of November in Indian Wells, Calif. First-round action is slate for Nov. 1.
The rest of the Tennessee Tech tennis team will next compete in the Wake Forest Invitational, slated for Nov. 3-5.
Eduardo Mena is off to the quarterfinals of the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships, highlighting another strong showing that also featured a pair of Jorge Alfonzo wins for the Tennessee Tech tennis team in day three of the event.
Mena, region's fourth-ranked player, bounced back after falling in the first set, 6-7 (5-7) to Louisville's Parker Wynn, the ninth-ranked player in the region. Mena came storming back with set victories of 6-0 and 6-4 to take the match and clinch a spot in the final eight.
The two-time OVC Player of the Year will greet Kentucky's Ryotaro Matsumura, the region's fifth-ranked player in Sunday's quarterfinal at 9:30 a.m. CT from inside UT's Goodfriend Center. Should Mena advance, the 6-foot senior will clash with the winner of Tennessee's Timo Stodder, the second-ranked player in the region, and Indiana's Antonio Cembellin, the eighth-ranked player in the region, in Sunday's semifinal at 12:30.
Mena wasn't the only Golden Eagle to register a win on the day, as fellow senior Jorge Alfonzo prevailed with two nods in the consolation bracket to move into the quarterfinals. The Valencia, Venezuela native first knocked off Butler's Spencer Lang, 6-3, 5-7, 10-8 in the second round, before taking down Xavier's Jan Vrba in the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Alfonzo will square off with Indiana's Brandon Lam in Sunday's quarterfinal bout at 10 a.m. from the Goodfriend Tennis Center. An Alfonzo win and the 5-foot-9 senior will connect with the winner of MTSU's Miguel Negre Fernandez and Vanderbilt's Tate Allwardt in the consolation semifinals at 1 p.m.
Wenceslao Albin's run in the consolation bracket ended with a second-round 4-6, 3-6 loss to MTSU's Miguel Negre Fernandez. Albin had previously upended Austin Peay's Timo Kiesslich in the bracket's opening round with a 4-6, 6-1, 10-0 triumph.
Gonzalo Garcia's stay in the consolation bracket came to a close as well with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-10 defeat to MTSU's Luis Morillo in the second round. Garcia had previously taken down EKU's Nic Castaldo in the bracket's first round with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory.
Eduardo Mena took charge in what was a banner day for the Tennessee Tech tennis team in day two of the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships. With a pair of Friday wins for the two-time OVC Player of the Year, Mena advances to Saturday's round of 16 in a tournament that showcases the best talent in the region.
Mena wasn't the only Golden Eagle to check the win column throughout the day, as three other Tech players flourished in the consolation bracket. Senior Jorge Alfonzo, junior Wenceslao Albin and freshman Gonzalo Garcia all carded victories to move to the Saturday's second-round action.
After Mena and Gonzalo Garcia were tripped up in the morning's double match with an 8-2 second-round loss to Memphis' Jan Pallares and Felix Rauch, Mena bounced back with a dominant showing in singles play.
The 6-foot senior soared to back-to-back straight-set victories, first toppling Dayton's Zach Berry, 6-0, 6-4, before edging MTSU's Gian Issa, 6-1, 6-3 to move to Saturday's round of 16. Mena, the fourth-ranked player in the region, will square up with Louisville's Parker Wynn, the ninth-ranked player in the region, at 10 a.m. CT from the Knoxville Racquet Club.
Wynn collected wins over Ball State's Nemanja Guzina, with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) nod, and Indiana's Keivon Tabrizi, with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Jorge Alfonzo rolled past Wright State's Marcel Ueltzhoeffer in the consolation bracket's opening round, securing a 6-0, 6-1 win to move into the bracket's second round Saturday morning. Alfonzo will lock up with Butler's Spencer Lang at 8:30 a.m. CT from UT's Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Should Alfonzo win, the 5-foot-9 senior will be right back at it later in the afternoon with a noon tilt against the winner of Purdue's Ali Mooraj and Xavier's Jan Vrba.
Wenceslao Albin is off to the consolation bracket's second round as well, gliding past Austin Peay's Timo Kiesslich with a 4-6, 6-1, 10-0 victory. Albin will meet MTSU's Miguel Negre Ferna Saturday at 8:30 a.m. from inside the Goodfriend Tennis Center, and with a victory, would square off with the winner of Louisville's George Hedley and Lipscomb's Daniel Cardenas at 12:30 p.m.
Gonzalo Garcia rebounded after falling in doubles play with a hard-fought, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), win over Eastern Kentucky's Nic Castaldo in the final bout of Friday's consolation bracket action. Garcia will connect with MTSU's Luis Morillo Saturday at 11:30 a.m. from inside the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Should Garcia prevail, the 6-foot-3 freshman will greet the winner of Indiana's Andrew Redding and UT Chattanooga's Niklas Gerdes at 2 p.m.
Lipscomb's Victor Chaw bested Arthur Justo, 6-2, 6-4, in Justo's opening-round consolation bracket match.
Eduardo Mena paved the path for the Tennessee Tech tennis team's day one showing at the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships, as the fourth-ranked player in the region took home wins in both singles and doubles play to get the tournament started off on the right foot.
Mena teamed up with freshman Gonzalo Garcia in Thursday morning's first-round doubles match, and the pair secured an 8-5 nod over Xavier's Brett Winters and Alejandro Rodriguez-Vidal to move into Friday's second round. The TTU tandem will see Memphis' Jan Pallares and Felix Rauch at 7 a.m. CT from the Knoxville Racquet Club.
Mena parlayed his momentum from doubles action into Thursday's first-round singles bout, taking down Belmont's Vincent Sterkens, 7-5, 6-0, to advance to Friday's second round. Mena will hook up with Dayton's Zach Berry at 10 a.m. CT from the Knoxville Racquet Club. Berry topped Northern Kentucky's Blaine Carr, 6-0, 6-4, in his opening round affair.
Should Mena defeat Barry, the two-time OVC Player of the Year will greet the winner of MTSU's Gian Issa and Vanderbilt's George Harwell for a third-round tilt at 12:30.
Jorge Alfonzo dropped his opening round battle with Memphis' Kai Lemke, as the 14th-ranked player in the region seized a 6-3, 6-1 win over the Golden Eagle senior. Alfonzo moves to the consolation bracket, where he will square off with Wright State's Marcel Ueltzhoeffer Friday at 8:30 from UT's Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Wenceslao Albin was downed by Eastern Kentucky's Ramon Van Flymen in his opening round matchup, falling 6-3, 6-3 to the region's 17th-ranked player. Albin will now say hello to Austin Peay's Timo Kiesslich in Friday's consolation bracket match at 10 a.m. from the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Arthur Justo's first round match ended with a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Kentucky's Ryotaro Matsumura, the region's fifth-ranked player. Justo's consolation affair will see the Campinas, Brazil native take on Lipscomb's Victor Chaw at 1:30 p.m. from inside the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Gonzalo Garcia was upended, 6-2, 6-3, to Ball State's Thibault de Negri in his first-round bout. The 6-foot-3 Tech freshman will turn his attention to EKU's Nic Castaldo in Friday's consolation bracket affair at 4 p.m. from the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information