TULSA, Okla. — The Oracle ITA All-American Championships concluded with Alex Lebedev earning a berth in the ITA Fall National Championships later this season. Seven members of Notre Dame’s men’s tennis team made the trip down to Oklahoma for the 10-day tournament.
Nine Irish players took part in the event, with seven beginning competition in the pre-qualifying stage. Grayson Broadus, Guillermo Cabrera, William Howells, Tristan McCormick, Axel Nefve and Johnathan Small all took part in the first round of the ITA All-American Championships.
“Overall, the ITA All-American Championships was a strong event for the majority of our players,” Callaghan Family Head Coach Ryan Sachire said. “Certainly Alex’s strong play and run to the quarterfinals will grab the headlines.”
Small dropped a tight first match in the round of 256, taking his opponent, Will Davies of Iowa. After losing the first set 1-6, he bounced back to claim the second 6-3 before ultimately falling 5-7 in the decisive set. Broadus claimed victory in his first soundly, defeating Blake Sprouse (Oral Roberts) in a pair of 6-1 sets. He fell in the second round to Jason Lui of Columbia, 2-6, 6-7(5).
Cabrera, Gamble and Nefve all came just shy of the qualifying rounds, falling out of competition in the round of 64. Defeating opponents from UT-Arlington and California, Cabrera took his final opponent to three evenly matched sets: 3-6, 6-2, 3-6. Gamble and Nefve both also rolled through their first two opponents before being knocked out by Arizona and Loyola Marymount, respectively.
The final two Irish contestants in the first round, Howells and McCormick, advanced through the pre-qualifiers round of 32 in straight sets to advance to the qualification round. McCormick dropped his first match as Edson Ortiz of Alabama took two sets, 4-6 and 1-6. Winning 13 straight sets, Howells advanced to the final round of qualifiers before falling late to Kyle Seelig of Ohio State (6-4, 4-6, 2-6) who was seeded sixth at the tournament.
“It was great to see William Howells continue his strong fall to this point, by winning six matches and nearly going from pre-qualifying all the way through to the main draw,” Sachire added. “Also, Tristan McCormick’s four wins at the All-Americans will serve as a great springboard, as he continues to develop into a very strong player.”
Joining the pair in the qualifications round was Richard Ciamarra. Having qualified for a bye through the first round of competition, he took his first match 6-0, 6-3, defeating Haru Inoue of Wichita State. Ciamarra later lost to Wake Forest’s Bar Botzer in a tight match-up that went to three sets: 7-6(4), 3-6, 2-6.
Alex Lebedev was the lone Irish participant in the main draw of competition. His first match, against Shane Monroe of LSU, ended with a long rally advancing Lebedev to the second round of the main draw, 6-2, 7-6(1). Following a tough three-set match, he ended Jake Van Emburgh’s (Oklahoma) time at the ITA All-American Championships with a 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4 victory.
“He did a fantastic job competing through the first two rounds of the tournament, and then he played at a tremendous level in both matches on Saturday. I am really proud of his performance and the way that his game is continuing to progress,” Sachire said of Lebedev.
Advancing to the quarterfinals with a win over Bar Botzer of Wake Forest (6-3, 7-5), Lebedev qualified for the ITA Fall National Championships in Surprise, Arizona (November 7). His time in Tulsa came to a close with a 4-6, 7-6(2) loss to JJ Wolf of Ohio State.