Oct. 24, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Four Irish men’s tennis players – junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), sophomores Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Barry King (Dublin, Ireland/Gonzaga College), and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) – won two matches apiece Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Center to advance to the round of 16 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Championships. Notre Dame is the lone school with a quartet in the final 16 of the singles bracket. Among the highlights on the day were Irish players posting an 11-5 mark in the tournament of the best players in the Midwest Region, including two upsets of top-70 players.
Notre Dame’s hottest player, Buchanan, first defeated Ohio State’s Dennis Mertens 6-4, 6-4 before registering his first career win over a ranked opponent when he upset Northwestern’s No. 1 player, 69th-ranked and ninth-seeded Tommy Hanus, 6-4, 6-4. Buchanan won three matches in qualifying to earn his spot in the main draw. He is off to his best collegiate start, standing at 12-1 and boasting a nine-match winning streak. Buchanan improved to 25-10 in his career in indoor matches and now has won 20 consecutive matches when capturing the opening set. He will next take on the tournament’s top seed, #23 Jakub Praibis of Indiana.
King, who was winless in two matches against nationally-ranked foes in his rookie campaign, notched his second victory against a top-50 foe during the fall season, when he defeated the sixth seed, #50 Chris Martin of Illinois, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in the second round. That win followed an opening-round triumph over Michigan State’s No. 2 player, Cameron Marshall, by scores of 6-4, 6-2. The Irishman is now 7-2 on the season, with his other ranked win being an upset of #26 Jeff Kader of William & Mary last month in the Tom Fallon Invitational. He is now 18-7 in his career in matches away from Notre Dame and 21-2 when winning the first set, including a current 12-match winning streak. King will face the tournament’s 12th seed, 94th-ranked Brian Hung of Michigan, in the round of 16.
Bass, the lone Irish player seeded to reach the final 16, notched a pair of straight-set victories. The No. 15 seed, he topped Indiana’s Neil Kenner 6-4, 6-3 before topping Louisville qualifier Octavian Nicodim 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Bass is now 8-2 on the season and 30-9 in his collegiate career. He holds a 14-4 mark in fall action and is 21-1 – including a current 15-match winning streak – when winning the opening set. Bass, who holds a 13-5 career mark against Midwest Region players, will face Indiana freshman Mike McCarthy in the round of 16.
Last weekend, Parbhu won three matches to reach the semifinals of the Midland Invitational, and he continued his strong play by losing just eight games in four sets on Saturday. The Irish rookie first topped Tim Bradshaw of Western Michigan 6-3, 6-2 before downing Northwestern’s Matt Christian 6-2, 6-1. Parbhu, who is 9-2 in his first collegiate fall, joins McCarthy as the lone freshmen still alive in the singles draw. He will take on Ohio State’s Devin Mullings, ranked 116th and seeded 13th, in the third round.
Nine schools still have players remaining in the singles draw, but only four – Illinois, Ohio State, Indiana, and Notre Dame – have multiple student-athletes among the final 16. The Hoosiers and Illini, who finished last season ranked #2 in the nation after reaching the national semifinals, have two competitors left, while the Buckeyes, who advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals last spring, boast a trio in the round of 16.
Three other Irish players – senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School), junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.), and sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) – won opening-round contests before losing to ranked opponents. D’Amico defeated Slavko Radman of Louisville 7-5, 6-2 before losing 6-2, 6-4 against the No. 3 seed, 111th-ranked G.D. Jones of Illinois.
Langenkamp first topped Northwestern’s Willy Lock 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) before falling 6-3, 6-4 against 90th-ranked and 10th-seeded Chris Klingemann of Ohio State. Akhvlediani outlasted Illinois’ Evan Zeder 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 before losing 6-4, 6-2 against #56 Paul Rose of Purdue, the seventh seed.
Notre Dame’s lone first-round loser – out of eight entries, which was the most of any school – was freshman Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School), who battled top-seeded Praibis before losing in two tiebreakers, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4).
D’Amico and Langenkamp are the lone Notre Dame team still remaining in the doubles draw. They will take on Bradley’s team of William Lofgren and Croatian Mario Panzic in Sunday’s second round.
The ITA Midwest Championships is an indoor singles and doubles tournament for the top players in the Midwest Region – which consists of every Big Ten Conference team but Iowa and Penn State, as well as other area schools. It is one of nine regional tournaments taking place across the country this month. The event consists of main draws of 64 in both singles and doubles, with eight spots in singles reserved for winners of a 64-player qualifying bracket. The singles finalists and doubles champions earn automatic entry into the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, slated for Nov. 4-7 in the same venue.
ITA Midwest Championships
Singles – First Round
 #23 Jakub Praibis (Indiana) def. Andrew Roth (Notre Dame) 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4)
Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Dennis Mertens (Ohio State) 6-4, 6-4
Barry King (ND) def. Cameron Marshall (Michigan State) 6-4, 6-2
 Stephen Bass (ND) def. Neil Kenner (Indiana) 6-4, 6-3
Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) def. Evan Zeder (Illinois) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Tim Bradshaw (Western Michigan) 6-3, 6-2
Eric Langenkamp (ND) def. Willy Lock (Northwestern) 6-1, 7-6 (7-2)
Brent D’Amico (ND) def. Slavko Radman (Louisville) 7-5, 6-2
Singles – Second Round
Buchanan (ND) def.  #69 Tommy Hanus (Northwestern) 6-4, 6-4
King (ND) def.  #50 Chris Martin (Illinois) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
 Bass (ND) def. Octavian Nicodim (Louisville) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
 #56 Paul Rose (Purdue) def. Akhvlediani (ND) 6-4, 6-2
Parbhu (ND) def. Matt Christian (Northwestern) 6-2, 6-1
 #90 Chris Klingemann (Ohio State) def. Langenkamp (ND) 6-3, 6-4
 #111 G.D. Jones (Illinois) def. D’Amico (ND) 6-2, 6-4
Note: Seedings are in brackets preceding national rankings, which precede names.