Keaton Cullimore won both matches Saturday in the prequalifying rounds of the All-American Championships. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
TULSA, OKLA. – The BYU men’s tennis team kicked off the prestigious nine-day ITA All-American Championships with two wins Saturday in Tulsa, Okla.
BYU had two players present during the pre-qualifying singles rounds Saturday. In the first round, freshman Francis Sargeant pushed opponent Ulrik Thomsen of George Washington to three sets before falling 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Freshman Keaton Cullimore battled a close first set in his first round matchup with Charlie Chriskey of William & Mary before taking the second set after only dropping one game to advance, 7-5, 6-1.
Cullimore cruised past Purdue’s Evan Hawkins in the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win.
While scheduled to compete in the third round Sunday, Cullimore will not participate due to BYU’s policy of not playing on Sunday.
The qualifying rounds begin Monday, Oct. 3. The last 16 spots in singles and eight spots in doubles will be on the line when qualifying matches conclude on Wednesday, Oct. 5. On Thursday, Oct. 6, main draw play gets underway as 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams vie for the titles.
No. 53 in preseason rankings, sophomore Patrick Kawka will compete in the main draw in singles for the Cougars.
No. 91 Georgy Batrakov and No. 117 Spencer Smith, both named to the 2011 All-Mountain West Conference Singles Team, will compete in the qualifying rounds.
In doubles, two BYU duos will compete in the qualifying rounds. Senior Batrakov, a member of the 2011 All-MWC Doubles Team, and Kawka will team up, while junior Smith will pair with teammate Sargeant.
Smith and Kawka participated in doubles during last year’s ITA All-American Championships, but they both fell in the first round of the qualifying rounds.
In September, Smith won the singles title of the Utah Fall Classic for the Cougars. Smith and Sargeant competed in the doubles final but fell to Cullimore and high school senior John Pearce, BYU men’s tennis head coach Brad Pearce’s son.
Singles quarterfinalists, doubles finalists and consolation champions will receive automatic entry into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships Nov. 3-6 in Flushing, N.Y.
For more information on the tournament and for tournament draws, click here.