May 26, 2004
TULSA, Okla. – Battling various injuries, senior tri-captain Luis Haddock (Caguas, P.R./Notre Dame H.S.) was eliminated in the opening round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Singles Championship Wednesday afternoon at the Case Tennis Center. The Puerto Rican, who had gained entrance into the event on Tuesday evening after originally being the fifth alternate, lost 6-1, 6-3 to 39th-ranked Spaniard Pedro Nieto of Virginia Commonwealth to put an end to the 2003-04 Irish season.
“Luis ran into a hot player in Nieto,” said Irish head coach Bob Bayliss. “He just didn’t have his ‘A’ game today, but that doesn’t take away from the marvelous career he had.”
Nieto, who has won seven of his last eight matches, took control of the match early, winning 10 of the first 11 games before Haddock won three straight in the second set in an attempt to get back into the match. The Spaniard, who is now 17-6 on the season, then got another break of serve and put the match away, moving into the second round, where he will face #5 Phillip King of Duke.
Haddock had been battling a shoulder injury suffered in the first round of the NCAA team tournament on May 15. He then tweaked his wrist early on in his match with Nieto, and the combination of maladies affected his play.
The two players met during the regular season, in dual-match play at No. 1 on March 12 in the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic. A healthy Haddock was ahead 6-4, 3-2 when the affair was abandoned due to the Rams clinching the team match.
Haddock, ranked 70th in the latest ITA national rankings, ended the season 20-13, a mark that included four wins against ranked opponents, including two over top-20 foes. He was 12-7 in dual matches, playing No. 1 in every contest but one. In his career, Haddock finished with a 91-43 (.679) career record in singles, as well as a 70-41 (.631) doubles mark. He is just the fifth player under head coach Bob Bayliss to win at least 90 singles matches and 70 doubles contests during his career. His singles victories are the ninth-highest sum in the Bayliss era.
The defeat continued Notre Dame’s recent struggles in the opening round of the NCAA singles tournament. Irish players have bowed out in the first round in four consecutive appearances. The last Notre Dame competitor to register a victory in the event was Ryan Sachire in 1998.
Haddock’s appearance was the 18th time an Irish student-athlete has gained entry to the NCAA Singles Championship since the current format was adopted in 1977. All but two of those invitations have come since 1990.
NCAA Division I Singles Championship
#39 Pedro Nieto (VCU) d. #70 Luis Haddock (Notre Dame) 6-1, 6-3