Oct. 9, 2008
Tulsa, Okla. – Senior Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) advanced to the round-of-16 at the ITA All American Championships on Thursday, in Tulsa, Okla with two wins. Helgeson won his first match (5-7, 7-5, 6-1) and followed that performance up with another three-set victory (4-6, 7-5, 6-4) to stay in the winners draw. Helgeson will face top-seeded Oleksandr Nedevyesov of Oklahoma State on Friday at 10:00 a.m. EST.
In his first match of the main draw, Helgeson faced junior Richard Wire of Stanford, who made it to the main draw by winning his final singles qualifying bracket match. Helgeson, #25 in the preseason ITA rankings, dropped the first set, 5-7, but the senior battled back to win a close second set, 7-5. Helgeson seized the momentum and won the third set, 6-1. With the win, Helgeson became the first Irish player to notch a first-round win at the event since Casey Smith did so in 2001.
In his second match of the day, Helgeson faced 12th seeded Nate Schnugg of Georgia, who was coming off a three-set win over Eliot Wronski of UNLV, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Helgeson dropped the first set of the match, 4-6, before winning two straight, 7-5, 6-4, to advance to the round-of-16, becoming the first Notre Dame player to advance to the round-of-16 since 2000, when Javier Taborga was able to win his first two matches.
Helgeson will face top-seeded Oleksandr Nedevyesov of Oklahoma State in the next round. The duo have a history together, as it was Nedevyesov who knocked Helegson out of the NCAA Championships singles draw last spring in the round-of-32 (6-3, 6-2).
The ITA All American Championships is one of the three most prestigious events on the college tennis circuit. It includes 64 of the top players in all of men’s college tennis. Sheeva Parbhu ’08 played in the event for the Irish last season. He was knocked out in the first round to 22nd-ranked Bojan Szumanski of Texas Tech, 6-3, 6-0. Parbhu also dropped his consolation match to 38th-ranked Clancy Shields of Boise State, 6-3, 6-3. Ryan Sachire and David DiLucia had the best performances at the ITA All American Championships among Notre Dame entrants as both fell in the title match, Sachire in 1998 and DiLucia in 1991. Dating back to 1989, the Irish have sent 12 entrants – on 19 occasions – to the event.
While Helgeson is taking part in the ITA All-American Championships, his teammates will host to 22nd annual Tom Fallon Invitational, named after the 31-year Irish head coach. The three-day event will begin on Friday, October 10 at Notre Dame’s Courtney Tennis Center. This year’s field includes Ball State, Harvard, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Wisconsin.