Aug. 16, 2017
By Joanne Norell
FORT WORTH, Texas – University of Notre Dame men’s tennis junior Alex Lebedev will return to campus on a high note this fall after capturing the ITA National Summer Championship on Tuesday, defeating Penn’s Kyle Mautner in the semifinal before upending Omaha’s Alexandru Grigorescu in the championship match at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center at TCU.
It was the first collegiate tournament win of Lebedev’s career. His win earns him a wild-card entry into this year’s Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships, which will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 9 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“It means a lot to play the main draw of (the All-American Championships),” Lebedev said. “I’ve played pre-qualifying the last two years and did not fare well, so to be in that elite company (of the main draw) is what I’ve been striving for. This week I proved to myself I can consistently hang with the best players and that I deserve to be in that Tulsa draw.
“It’s the culmination of a great summer after having a solid summer session at Notre Dame, and then playing super well in Tacoma and New Orleans (during Summer Circuit play). The TCU ITA was really difficult, the conditions were among the hottest and most humid I’ve ever felt (almost more than New Orleans!) but the fact that I felt fresh every day is a testament to the great training I’ve done this summer and the whole semester before that. In terms of going into junior year, I feel great.”
– ITA Tennis (@ITA_Tennis) August 15, 2017
Lebedev was the 10th seed into this season’s ITA National Summer tournament, cruising through the first four rounds of the championship en route to the quarterfinal, winning each match in straight sets. The Island Park, New York, product also defeated three top-10 seeded opponents, including No. 7 Rodrigo Banzer of Texas (7-5, 7-6), No. 2 Connor Curry of Texas Tech (6-3, 6-1) and No. 3 Mautner (7-6(1), 5-7, 10-6). Lebedev bounced Grigorescu in the final, 6-3, 6-2.
The Irish junior is one of five returning starters from last year’s Irish squad, playing significant matches in both singles and doubles. Lebedev tied for the team lead in singles wins last season with a 23-17 overall record (12-11 dual record), and was 21-13 (12-6) in doubles. Lebedev primarily paired with Matt Gamble during doubles play, going 17-11 (11-6) as a duo.
ITA Summer Circuit – National Summer Championship
Aug. 12-15, 2017
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
Round of 128
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. Tripp Harwell 6-2, 6-3
Round of 64
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 54 Jackson Cobb (TT) 6-4, 6-3
Round of 32
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 42 Jack Pulliam 6-2, 6-3
Round of 16
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 7 Rodrigo Banzer (UT), 7-5, 7-6
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 2 Connor Curry (TT) 6-3, 6-1
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 3 Kyle Mautner (PENN) 7-6(1), 5-7, 10-6
No. 10 Alex Lebedev (ND) def. No. 44 Alexandru Grigorescu (UNO) 6-3, 6-2
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs, as well as oversees the production of the football game program. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.