Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State’s men stood out on the first day of competition at the USTA/ITA Division II Men's South Regional Championships. The women, however, struggled.
In the men’s singles, Valdosta State still has four Blazers alive in the monster tournament, three of which were on the national championship team of 2011.
Konstantin Kutschenko beat his only opponent, Guilherme Canineo of West Florida, 6-3, 6-0, and will face regional foe Willi Wolfer of Lynn at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Luis Loeffler dropped a close first set to teammate Leonel Vivas, 6-7, but rebounded to beat Vivas in the second set, 6-0. In the tiebreaker, Loeffler won, 12-10, to advance to face Roberto Mattos of West Florida at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Christian Hansen made short work of Jordan Belcher from conference rival Alabama-Huntsville, 6-0, 6-0. But he is sure to face a tough test in Barry’s Kevin Sielmann at 10 a.m. Friday.
Marcos River of Alabama-Huntsville pushed VSU newcomer Nicola Kusy in the first set, but Kusy triumphed, 7-5. Kusy won the second set, 6-1, to take the match and advance to face Florida Southern’s Jorge Guitierrez at 10 a.m. Friday.
Blazers on the men’s team that did not advance include Bernhard Wallner, Tammo Haake and Sebastian Jasyk.
The men showed up just as strong in doubles play as well. Hansen and Loeffler beat Olivier Lemaitre and Sielmann of Barry, 8-6, to advance to face Alessio Iannozzi and Ben Kendall of Lynn at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
Iannozzi and Kendall, meanwhile, were able to sneak past Haake and Kusy of VSU, 8-6. Jasy and Kutschenko, however, advanced for Valdosta State with an 8-5 victory over Ari Davis and Sebastian Hafner of Rollins. The duo will face Vlad Cirl and Amaury Van Haelen of Lynn at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
For the VSU women, there is just one Lady Blazer left standing. Alina Nagel beat Maria Benkirane of Saint Leo in straight sets of 6-0, and will face Stefaniya Tkach of Rollins at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
In other singles play, Maja Ehses, Tina Trautmann, Jessica Tuggle and Leslie Roberge did not make it past their first matches. Michelle Fischer, however, was able to notch a victory, beating Kayli Ragsdale of Rollins, 6-2, 6-2. Fisher later fell to Magda Riutort of Florida Southern.
In doubles play, the Valdosta State Lady Blazers only had two teams competing, but neither was able to earn a victory.
Tournament play continues Friday, starting at 8:30 a.m.