Men's Tennis: John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic serves as a barometer for UL - Draws Announced
Bruce Brown, Special to the Daily Advertiser, Sept. 18, 2018
Coach Mark Jeffrey knows what to expect when his Ragin' Cajuns play host to the John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic this weekend.
A select field of Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas, LSU, South Florida and Rice promises to produce quality tennis, and that in turn figures to test the Cajuns that Jeffrey will send into battle at Cajun Courts.
“The Classic keeps building,” said Jeffrey, whose team was 18-10 last spring. “It puts us on the tennis map on that particular weekend.”
Action begins Friday, with championship finals televised Sunday.
Junior Elio Lago will be in action for UL, along with freshman Jan Galka, but other spots are still up in the air as the tournament looms.
Lone senior Arthur Libaud is coming off of seven wins in his native France over the summer and looks to bounce back in his final campaign.
“Arthur's first two years here were good, and then he didn't have a good year last year,” Jeffrey said. “But winning those tournaments this summer has helped him.”
Juniors Pearse Dolan and Jamie Fraser will be crucial to the team's success, settling into the role of team leaders.
“They're my captains,” Jeffrey said. “They're both good all-court players. They're pretty fit guys, and both can adapt their game quickly to different styles to fit the opposition.”
Jeffrey is eager to see how freshman Kasper Dworak progresses.
“Kasper has done well,” he said. “He's been sort of under the radar. He's got a big game. He needs to learn how to manage it. He just needs matches.”
Despite being new to college tennis, first-year Cajuns aren't necessarily at a disadvantage.
“These days, someone may come to you as a freshman who has more experience than your juniors and seniors,” Jeffrey said. “Galka has a lot of experience.”
The trick for Jeffrey is to juggle his personnel to get the most action during the busy fall tournament schedule, before the Cajuns enter regular season dual match action in the spring.
When they do, they will encounter a full Sun Belt Conference schedule — something that has taken time to construct.
“It has taken a year to get organized,” Jeffrey said. “It's good to play everybody in the conference, good for the student-athlete. It builds rivalries. You'll have a regular season and tournament champion. The NCAA Tournament bid will still be determined by the conference tournament.”
With six different schools claiming the last six SBC tournament titles, a wide-open chase seems certain next spring. The Cajuns hope the Classic will help sharpen their game for that task ahead.
“We've had to tweak it to keep up with the times,” Jeffrey said. “Our courts have been resurfaced. We have new lighting. We're going to have VIP tents on the courts, that will be catered, to give it a U.S. Open feel.”
Each entrant is guaranteed four singles matches and two in doubles. The Round of 16 and quarterfinals will be on Friday, with both Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's finals set for 11 a.m.
The championship singles and doubles will be on ESPN3 and Cox Sports.
“Just this last week, I've had calls from Nebraska, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Baylor, wanting to get kids in,” Jeffrey said. “So, schools like to come here.”
David Collins, Athletics Communications Assistant
LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Men's Tennis and head coach Mark Jeffrey, announced on Wednesday, the draws for the annual John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic, starting on Friday, Sept. 21 and running through the weekend with the finals, which will be broadcast on CST, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 23 at Cajun Courts.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: The tournament, which is free to attend, begins with a busy day of singles and doubles on Friday, starting at 8:30 a.m. The first round of singles will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the quarterfinals being contested later in the day at 2 p.m.
Players who fall in the first round, will play the first round of the consolation bracket at 2 p.m. on Friday. Doubles will begin later in the day, with the first round being played at 5:45 p.m.
Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., the second round of singles consolation matches will get rolling. The singles main draw's quarterfinals matches will be contested at 11 a.m., with doubles main draw semifinals matches going at 2 p.m.
The championship matches, which will be broadcast on CST, will be contested on Sunday, with singles going at 11 a.m. and doubles playing shortly after the conclusion of the singles championship match.
TOP TEAMS MAKING THE TRIP: Six schools will be making the trip to Lafayette for the John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic, with four of the six programs having finished the 2018 season ranked in the top-75 nationally. Texas (No. 12); Oklahoma State (No. 19); Texas Tech (No. 36); South Florida (No. 62) join Rice and Louisiana State to highlight a great weekend of top programs from across the country.
LOUISIANA FILLS UP THE DRAW: Four members from Louisiana Men's Tennis will be taking place in the singles portion of the tournament and they are each matched up with top competition. While in doubles two pairs will represent the Ragin' Cajuns in the tournament.
Junior Elio Lago will matchup with the No. 1 seeded Shane Monroe, from Louisiana State, at the top of the singles bracket. Monroe brings with him, to the John Breaux, a preseason ITA national ranking of 42 in singles.
Freshman Jan Galka will get himself a real test in his first collegiate match when he goes up against nationally ranked No. 62, Leo Telles of Texas who is seeded third in the tournament. While senior Arthur Libaud faces off with yet another nationally ranked opponent, when he takes on Rice's Eric Rutledge (No. 98) who is the No. 4 seeded player in singles.
Rounding out Louisiana's singles draw is junior Jamie Fraser, who takes on the No. 2 seeded Rodrigo Banzer of Texas. Banzer is ranked No. 61 in the nation and his top seeding in the tournament means that Louisiana will face off with all four of the top seeded players in the first round.
In doubles Louisiana's pairing of Galka and freshman Kacper Dworak will face off with the Rice pairing of Rutledge and Sumit Sarkar, seeded No. 2, in the first round. While Junior Pearse Dolan will partner up with Lago to take on Texas Tech's pairing of Ilgiz Valiev and Artem Kapshuk in their first-round doubles match.
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John Breaux Cajun Tennis Classic (Louisiana Draws)