The Salukis faced some of the toughest individual competition they will see all year during the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s All-American.
The singles tournament, which was held on the University of Tulsa’s campus Saturday, featured more than 300 of the strongest players from universities around the United States.
Senior Badr Cherradi, junior Rafael Cuadrillero and freshman Jonny Rigby competed in the event, but none were able to advance past the pre-qualifying round. Cuadrillero replaced Brandon Florez, who underwent treatment for knee tendinitis.
Cherradi fared the best of the three Salukis, as he advanced to the third pre-qualifying round. He defeated Grant Taylor from the Air Force Academy 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.
Ross Peets, of Southern Methodist University, fell to Cherradi 6-3, 6-2 in his second match. Cherradi lost to Florida State’s Anderson Reed.
Despite falling in pre-qualification, Cherradi said he was happy with his tournament performance. He said his practice regiment was a big factor in his ability to advance to the third round.
“It’s the biggest tournament of the year,” he said. “I was prepared physically and mentally.”
Jonny Rigby lost 6-3, 7-6 in the first round to John Warden of the University of Oklahoma, one of the nation’s premier college programs. Rigby said he was not disappointed with his effort at the All-American, which was his second college event.
“It was a close match. It could have gone either way,” he said. “I played better as a whole than I did the previous weekend.”
Assistant coach Alejandro Vial, who traveled to Tulsa with the team, said he thought Rigby struggled with his serve, which is his weapon.
He said although Rigby has had problems in singles play, he does not foresee it continuing as the freshman progresses and gains confidence.
“The good thing is that it’s nothing technical,” he said. “It’s nothing that he doesn’t have. Those things are really fixable.”
Cuadrillero began play in the second round because of a first-round bye. He lost 6-3, 6-3 to Ettore Zito of Middle Tennessee State University, who defeated Cherradi during the previous weekend’s Dale Short Shootout.
Vial said he wants an intensity increase from his players, but he wants them to balance it with relaxation. He said the team needs to gain momentum.
“We are not yet able to put sequence together,” he said. “We may have one great game, but we cannot keep our minds in the present moment to keep working on (what we do in practice).”