The Virginia Tech men’s tennis team set out to achieve one goal when traveling to Tulsa: play quality tennis at a high level.
They did just that this past week.
The Hokies left the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships with big victories from sophomores Amerigo Contini and Andreas Bjerrehus in both singles and doubles.
The 43rd ranked Contini beat 32nd ranked Nathan Pasha of Georgia 6-2, 6-3 and sixth ranked Marcos Giron of UCLA 6-4, 6-2 in the main draw.
Contini was pleased with his performance over the course of the tournament.
“I played pretty well," Contini said. "I definitely practiced well the week before it. I felt really confident after my first match and had a very good win in the second round. I’m pretty happy with it.”
Even though Contini was defeated in his next match, he gained a lot from the experience.
“Obviously it was a good opportunity for me to compete with these guys, and I thank Coach (Thompson) for that to take me there, and it always feels great to compete,” Contini said. “I’m pretty confident that I can play with those guys and I just like to keep playing with them and playing more tournaments to keep my level up.”
Meanwhile, Bjerrehus won his first two matches in qualifying before losing to ECU’s 87th ranked Joran Vliegen 6-3, 6-2.
“Maybe I should’ve prepared a little better on how to play that guy because he got me on the run a lot,” Bjerrehus said.
But he still took away a lot from the tournament.
“To go to the All-Americans is always a great experience because all the best players are there, so you get to see what you need to do to get to the level to play with the top players in the country,” Bjerrehus said.
The two highly ranked Hokies both saw great success in doubles, advancing to the quarterfinals, where they were defeated by the 50th ranked pair of Dane Webb and Andrew Harris of Oklahoma 8-2.
The tournament proved to be a great experience for the Hokies who showed that they are indeed a top quality opponent on the rise.
“I think we’re in good shape. We've got to keep working hard and keep the focus,” said head coach Jim Thompson.
The team’s performance at the ITAs served as a measuring stick. Although the Hokies were pleased with their performance, they are by no means letting up.
“Everybody is very competitive and everybody is very prepared right now, so every small thing counts," Contini said.
They now prepare for the ITA Atlantic Regional Championships, which will be held Oct. 17-22 at Virginia Tech’s own Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center.
“We’re hosting that for the first time in a while, so we’re excited about that. It’ll be a big event with a lot of nationally ranked players,” Thompson said. “Virginia’s team will be here and VCU will be here. They’re some of the top schools in this area, so it’ll be a great event and we’re looking forward to it.”