Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State tennis had a stellar day at the Wilson ITA South Regional Tournament. Top seed Philip Pakebusch and second seed Daniel Dueren played for the championship last season, and they are on a quest to do it again. This year, the duo has some VSU company after the first day.
Both Pakebusch and Dueren, as well as all of the Blazers that played advanced to the round of 32 Thursday. Pakebusch went through Aaron Kleefield of Eckerd, 6-0, 6-0 to advance while Dueren beat William Fountain of Florida Tech, 6-0, 6-0. Pakebusch will play Vladimir Barabash of Florida Southern at 10 a.m. Friday and Dueren will meet Richard Malobicky of Lynn for the chance to move on.
Luis Loeffler (15th seed) beat Nick Nieto, 6-4, 6-2 and will face Eckerd’s Ben Maxwell at 10 a.m. Friday. Otto Lenhart also earned a win with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Chris Herbert of Rollins. He will play at 11:30 a.m. Friday against Palm Beach Atlantic’s Krasimir Atanasov.
Konstantin Kutschenko and Christian Hansen (ninth seed) continued in last season’s form with wins for the both of them. Kutschenko beat Luke Bolanos of Palm Beach Atlantic, 6-4, 6-2, and will face Benoit Paradis of Florida Southern at 11:30 a.m. Friday. Hansen, meanwhile, won, 6-2, 6-2, over Rollins Tar Constantin Sturdza. He will meet Brian deMontfort at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Rounding out the singles group for the Blazers was Frank Sickman. He won in three sets over Florida Tech’s Mike Schmidt, 4-6, 6-1, 10-5. He will face Michael Lue of West Florida at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
The Blazers performed equally well in doubles with just one team falling on the day. Pakebusch and Loeffler beat Ivan Marevic and deMontfort of Florida Southern, 8-6, to reach the quarterfinal round. They will face off against Palm Beach Atlantic’s duo of Luke Bolanos and Atanasov.
Hansen and Dueren made short work of Jimmy Martinaeu and Mallory Leighty of West Florida, 8-2, and will face off against Jeff Morris and Neil Claussen of Rollins at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The only team to fall in doubles action was Kutschenko and Lenhart. The team pushed Nick Rowlands and Chris Herbert of Rollins to an 8-6 final.