Tallahassee, Fla.--Georgia State men's tennis senior Victor Valente fell in the singles main draw finals by a 6-0, 6-3 score to Florida's Florent Diep to end his, and the Georgia State men's tennis team's, successful run at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships on Monday.
Valente defeated three nationally-ranked singles opponents throughout his run to the finals. He upset Florida's Michael Alford, ranked No. 84 in the ITA Preseason Singles rankings, by a 6-3, 6-1, score in the first round. Valente then knocked off Georgia's Garrett Brasseaux 6-3, 6-2, and Miami's Gabriel Flores 6-0, 6-3. Next he took down a pair of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Juan Melian in the quarterfinals and a 7-6 (3), 6-4 win vs. No. 30-ranked Juan Spir in the semifinals. Spir was the second-seeded player in the tournament while Alford was the fourth seed.
Valente and Diep played for an automatic invite to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The event runs from Nov. 8-11 and invites 32 of the top singles players from all levels of college tennis to play in the tournament. Diep earned the automatic entry but Valente became eligible for one of six at-large bids to the tournament with his run to the finals. The six at-large selections are taken from the pool of runners-up from the 12 USTA/ITA Regional Championships
Overall, the Panthers won 10 singles matches in the tournament with every entrant advancing from the Round of 64. A notable performance was sophomore Sofiane Chevallier who won three consecutive matches in the qualifying draw to earn a spot in the singles main draw. He then won his first match in the singles main draw against Florida's Luke Johnson 7-5, 6-0.
In doubles, GSU posted four victories including Valente and senior Lucas Santa Ana earning a spot in the quarterfinals of the doubles main draw. One of the most successful doubles pairs in GSU history, the two notably defeated the eighth-seeded tandem of Juan Carlos Acuna and Oliver Pramming (USF) by an 8-5 score to reach the quarterfinals. Junior Robert Schulze paired with Chevallier to add an 8-3 victory against Miami's Victor Mauz and Jack Murphy.
"I am very proud of how the guys competed, they did remarkably well in the face of some adversity this weekend," GSU assistant coach Cesar Vargas said, "The guys are really starting to buy in to our coaching style and what we are trying to accomplish here, we've been working hard and it is good to see that pay off. The guys will certainly gain a lot of confidence from playing well against very tough competition this weekend."
"I've never seen someone compete as hard as Victor did this weekend," Vargas added, "His will to win made it a lot of fun to coach him and watch him play. He was the talk of the tournament here amongst all the coaches and players."
The Southeast region is regarded as one of the strongest of the 12 different regions as broken down by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The region boasts eight nationally-ranked teams as of last year's final rankings in Georgia (5), Florida (12), Florida State (32), South Florida (51), Georgia State (60), Georgia Tech (62), North Florida (66) and Miami (67). All results from this weekend's ITA-sanctioned tournament will be recorded for individual singles and doubles results only.
Georgia State concludes its fall schedule at the Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C., on Nov. 2. The Panthers are then off until the Crimson Tide Indoor Invite from Jan. 11-13, 2013. Visit the men's tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com for a preview of the Winthrop Invite.