Oct. 21, 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 singles matches in qualifying action Thursday at the Varsity Tennis Center in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Championships. All three will try to win two more matches to qualify for the main draw on Friday, which also will feature the opening round of the doubles main draw.
The Irish, which already have five players in the main draw of the event, join Minnesota as the only schools with three players still alive in the qualifying bracket.
Buchanan, seeded sixth in qualifying, had the toughest match, as he took nearly three hours to outlast Indiana’s David Bubenicek by scores of 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4. It avenged a three-set exhibition loss for Buchanan against the native of the Czech Republic that came in last spring’s dual match between the schools. The Irish junior now stands 8-1 this season, and he captured the 35th victory of his collegiate career, to go with 21 defeats and two abandoned matches. Buchanan improved to 21-10 in his career in indoor contests and has won 16 consecutive matches when capturing the opening set. He will face Toledo’s Freddy Gomez in his first match on Friday
Buchanan improved to 6-1 in his career in qualifying action at the Midwest Championships. He lost in three sets in the qualifying round as a rookie in 2002 before earning a spot in the main draw with three wins last fall.
Akhvlediani, playing in the Midwest Championships for the first time, defeated Western Illinois’ Justin Junck 6-1, 6-2 to move on to a matchup with the 12th seed, Mark Tate of Northern Illinois. The native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia is 6-3 on the season and now has won six of eight career matches away from Notre Dame.
Roth, the 11th seed, upended Indiana State’s Kevin Doh, a New Zealander, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2. The Irish rookie is now 7-1 in his first collegiate fall, and he will next face Ball State’s Paul Newman.
“It is great to have three players still going in the qualifying draw,” said Irish assistant coach Todd Doebler, who accompanied the trio to Ann Arbor a day before the rest of Notre Dame’s players would arrive. “Patrick’s victory – which came against a player that he lost to last spring – is a testament to the work he has done on his game since then, and it was great to see Irackli and Andrew take care of business the way they did.”
Four Notre Dame teams will take part in the opening round of doubles in the Midwest Championships on Friday. Senior co-captain Brent D’Amico (Castle Rock, Colo/St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) and junior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) are seeded 14th in the 64-team draw, and they will take on the Chicago State duo of Brazilian Vinicius Font and Indonesian Prabowo Imanuel. The other three Irish teams all will take on seeded duos in the first round. The 55th-ranked and fifth-seeded team of Indiana’s Jakub Praibis and Amytro Ishtuganov is the target of sophomore Barry King (Dublin, Irelan/Gonzaga College) and freshman Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.), while Irish brothers Jimmy Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) and Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) will attempt to upset the 15th-seeded team, Brady Crosby and Colombian Jose Orozco of Western Michigan. Buchanan and Roth will pair up and take on the 16th-seeded team of Ross Wilson and Drew Eberly of Ohio State.
D’Amico, Langenkamp, King, Parbhu, and Stephen Bass will open play in the singles main draw on Saturday.
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 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 – First Round
Irackli Akhvlediani (Notre Dame) def. Justin Junck (Western Illinois) 6-1, 6-2
 Patrick Buchanan (ND) def. David Bubenicek (Indiana) 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4
 Andrew Roth (ND) def. Kevin Doh (Indiana State) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
Note: Seedings precede players’ names in brackets.