NCAA Men’s Tennis Is All-American
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Unseeded Eric Drew of Washington on Friday made it an all-American semifinals at the NCAA men’s tennis championships.
Drew, a senior, eliminated the last foreigner in the field, TCU sophomore Esteban Carril of Spain, 6-4, 6-4.
Joining Drew in Saturday’s semifinals are Harvard’s James Blake, the top seed, Florida’s Jeff Morrison, the second seed, and Stanford’s four-time All-America Ryan Wolters.
It is the first all-American semifinals since 1989.
Carril said fatigue was not a factor, even though he had already been extended to three sets in the round of 16 earlier Friday. Drew was more charitable.
``I think he was a little more tired than I was,″ Drew said. ``But I was tight at 4-3, and he broke me. But I got my first serves in that last game. First serves are very critical to my game.″
Awaiting Drew is Morrison, who earlier this week selected the NCAA’s Player to Watch, an equivalent to ``best player never to win a major.″ He beat Tennessee’s Peter Handoyo and SMU’s Ignacio Hirigoyen in straight sets.
``I like those quick matches,″ Morrison said. ``This is the toughest day of the tournament. Two rounds of singles against top level competition, plus I have doubles later in the day. But I am in good shape. I have trained for a grueling 10 days. Conditioning is a factor.″
Florida started the day with three players alive in the round of 16. But Justin O’Neal lost to Drew, and Nathan Overholser fell to Wolters.
Wolters has already become the fourth Stanford player to earn all-America recognition four straight years, joining Jim Delaney, Alex O’Brien and Paul Goldstein.
Blake, the nation’s top-ranked player all year, advanced with straight-set wins over Roberto Bracone of North Carolina State and Brandon Hawk of Texas, but he was tested in both.
``Brandon keeps fighting no matter how far he’s down,″ Blake said. ``I thought he’d be a little tired, but he didn’t show it at all. I’m sure the semifinals and finals will be pure adrenaline. I’ll be ready for whatever comes.″