May 25, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame men’s tennis player Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./ Pine-Richland) will begin NCAA singles championship play at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, May 26 at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Watt, who earned one of 48 at-large bids to the 64-player field, is making his first career appearance at the event.
Watt will face UCLA senior Haythem Abid in first round action. The match will mark Watt and Abid’s first meeting in collegiate play. Abid enters Wednesday’s match ranked 51st in the most recent Campbell/ITA rankings, and carries a 2009-10 overall singles record of 7-7 and a 5-6 mark in dual season singles play. Most recently, Abid was downed by Virginia’s Sanam Singh at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, in NCAA team championship quarterfinal action.
Watt, currently 53rd in the ITA/Campbell singles rankings, amassed a 20-19 overall record in the 2009-10 season and a 9-17 mark when lining up at No. 1 singles in dual season play. Six of his nine wins came against ranked opponents. The sophomore was also named to the All-BIG EAST team for the second consecutive season.
Watt’s at-large selection for the 2010 draw gives Notre Dame 16 all-time competitors in the event who have combined for 25 total appearances. Last season, Brett Helgeson (’09) competed in the singles draw for the second consecutive season and made it to the round of 16. Current associate head coach Ryan Sachire (1998) and Irish great David DiLucia (1991) turned in runner-up showings for Notre Dame’s best finishes at the annual event.
Of the 64 players appearing in the 2010 NCAA singles championship field, Watt is one of just 20 underclassmen. All told, the field includes 22 seniors and juniors, 14 sophomores and six freshmen.
The winner of the Watt-Abid match will face the winner of the match between Michigan’s Jason Jung and Virginia’s Michael Shabaz on Thursday, May 27. Irish fans can follow Watt’s progress by watching live stat and video coverage through the NCAA tournament central page: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/c-tennis/champpage/c-tennis-div1-index.html.