CLEARWATER, Fla. – Playing for a chance to qualify for the 2012 US Open men’s tennis Tournament, FGCU freshman Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) made a run to the semifinals before falling just short at the US Open Regional Qualifier on May 26-29 at McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
Joining Bao at the tournament were teammates Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS) and Jackson Moore (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch HS/Georgia State).
“I’m so happy to see that the guys are playing some good tennis over the summer.” said first-year head coach C.J. Weber. “All three of these guys lost to quality opponents and are finding great competition to take their games to the next level.”
Bao won his first round match in straight sets against Mehdi Tahiri, 6-2, 6-1. In the second round, Bao defeated William Dowis, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a round of 16 match against Franco Mata (FGCU Alum ‘04). Bao moved on to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5, victory against Mata and cruised to the semifinals with a straight sets win against Rich Vach, 6-1, 6-0. In the semifinal round, Bao lost to Eric Hechtman (Miami Alum 06’), 6-4, 7-5.
Hechtman ended up winning the Sectional Qualifying Tournament against Ryler DeHeart, 6-4, 7-5, on Tuesday, May 29. DeHeart is a retired ATP player that Weber coached at three grand slam events in the U.S. Open ‘09, Wimbledon ‘09 and French Open ‘10.
The winner of each Sectional Qualifying Tournament in each division (men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles) will advance to the US Open National Playoffs Championships in their respective division taking place in New Haven, CT at Yale University during the New Haven Open at Yale, a WTA event, part of the US Open Series (August 17-20 for singles, August 22-25 for mixed doubles). The winner of each Singles Championship (1 male, 1 female) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2012 US Open Qualifying Tournament (August 21-24) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“What an amazing concept the USTA has put together to have a regional playoff for the U.S. Open,” said Weber. “It is now a true open event and what an amazing opportunity to compete for a spot in the most prestigious tournament in the world.”
Moore won his second round match against Murphey Parker, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) before falling to No. 1 seed Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M Alum), who was a 2010 NCAA Doubles Champion, 6-1, 6-2. Beiler lost a tough three set match to Danny Riggs, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, in the second round.
The Green and Blue doubled their win total from a season ago with seven victories this year. FGCU returns five of its six starters in the singles lineup in hopes of a return trip to the A-Sun Championships next season. The Eagles’ also added two freshmen for next season in Chris Perrigan (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay College Prep. School) and Dylan Gunning (Boca Raton, Fla./Olympics Heights HS).