Oct. 23, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Three Notre Dame men’s tennis players – junior Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), sophomore Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School), and freshman Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) – won two matches each on Friday at the Varsity Tennis Center to qualify for the singles main draw of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Championships. The Irish, who have eight players in the main draw in singles, are the only school with more than six participants in the 64-player field.
Buchanan, seeded sixth in qualifying, topped Toledo’s Freddy Gomez 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 before downing Ohio State’s Drew Eberly 6-1, 7-5. It is the second year in a row that the Irish junior has gone through qualifying to reach the main draw of the Midwest Championships. He now holds an 8-1 career mark in qualifying action at the tournament. Buchanan is off to his hottest start as a collegian, holding a 10-1 record this fall. He improved to 23-10 in his career in indoor contests and now has won 18 consecutive matches when capturing the opening set. He will take on another Buckeye, Dennis Mertens, in the main draw.
Akhvlediani, playing in the Midwest Championships for the first time, rallied to defeat 12th-seeded Mark Tate of Northern Illinois 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 before winning the first three games in the qualifying round, when Brian Compton of Michigan State retired, handing the native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia a spot in the main draw. Akhvlediani is 8-3 on the season and now has won eight of 10 career matches away from Notre Dame. The first match of the day marked the first time as a collegian he has rallied from losing the first set to win the match. Akhvlediani will play Illinois’ Evan Zeder in the first round on Saturday.
Roth, the 11th seed, topped Paul Newman of Ball State 6-2, 6-2 before downing seventh-seeded Brian Lipinski, who played Nos. 4-6 for Minnesota last spring, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. The Irish rookie is now 9-1 in his first collegiate fall, and he will face the top-seeded player in the main draw, 23rd-ranked Jakub Praibis of Indiana.
Eighteen different schools will be represented among the 64 players in the singles main draw, which features 16 nationally-ranked competitors. Illinois, which finished last season ranked #2 after reaching the national semifinals, and ’04 NCAA quarterfinalist Ohio State will both have six among that field, while Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, and Louisville qualified five apiece. The Irish would have had nine players in the main draw, but sophomore Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
Doubles action also got underway on Friday, with senior co-captain Brent Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo/St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.), seeded 14th, claiming a first-round triumph over Vinicius Font and Prabowo Imanuel of Chicago State by an 8-6 score. The win was the first in four matches this fall for the Irish duo.
Notre Dame’s other three doubles teams all drew seeded teams in the first round and could not pull off upsets. Sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Irelan/Gonzaga College) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) lost 8-5 against the fifth seed, #55 Praibis and Amytro Ishtuganov of Indiana, while brothers Jimmy Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) lost 8-3 against the 15th-seeded duo of Brady Crosby and Jose Orozco of Western Michigan. Buchanan and Roth lost 8-4 against Eberly and Ross Wilson from Ohio State, seeded 16th.
In addition to the qualifiers, D’Amico, Langenkamp, Stephen Bass, King, and Parbhu will take part in the main draw in singles.
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 Qualifying – Second Round
Irackli Akhvlediani (Notre Dame) def.  Mark Tate (Northern Illinois) 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
 Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. Freddy Gomez (Toledo) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
 Andrew Roth (ND) def. Paul Newman (Ball State) 6-2, 6-2
Singles Qualifying – Qualifying Round
Irackli Akhvlediani (Notre Dame) def. Brian Compton (Michigan State) 3-0, ret.
 Patrick Buchanan (ND) def.  Drew Eberly (Ohio State) 6-1, 7-5
 Andrew Roth (ND) def.  Brian Lipinski (Minnesota) 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
Doubles – First Round
 Brady Crosby/Jose Orozco (Western Michigan) def. Jimmy Bass/Stephen Bass (ND) 8-3
 #55 Amytro Ishtuganov/Jakub Praibis (Indiana) def. Barry King/Sheeva Parbhu (ND) 8-5
 Drew Eberly/Ross Wilson (Ohio State) def. Buchanan/Roth (ND) 8-4
 Brent D’Amico/Eric Langenkamp (Notre Dame) def. Vinicius Font/Prabowo Imanuel (Chicago State) 8-6
Note: Seedings precede players’ names in brackets.