SKILLMAN, N.J. - Tennis' top collegiate players have begun competing in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) first national events of the 2008-09 tennis season, as selections for the D’Novo All-American Men's Tennis Championships, Oct. 9-12 and the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, Oct. 2-5 were announced by the ITA earlier this month.
Many of the events’ top seeds are also featured in the ITA preseason singles and doubles rankings. Among those featured in this year's men's singles field is No. 1 ranked Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State. With two-time ITA National Player of the Year and last year’s No. 1 ranked Somdev Devvarman of Virginia having graduated, Nedovyesov moved up from the No. 2 final ranking from last year to claim the top spot in the preseason ITA rankings. He becomes the first OSU player to top the ITA rankings since Pavel Kudrnac in 1998. The junior enjoyed a campaign that saw him post a 24-5 mark this spring at the No. 1 singles position while leading OSU to a berth in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships. He was named the ITA’s National Player to Watch as well as the Big 12 Player of the Year after winning conference titles in both singles and doubles.
Also highlighting this year's men's field and rounding out the ITA men’s singles preseason rankings (in order): Denes Lukacs of Baylor, Daniel Vallverdu of Miami (Fla.), Alex Clayton of Stanford, Robert Farah of USC, Arnau Brugues of Tulsa, Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas, Justin Kronauge and Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State and J.P. Smith of Tennessee.
The doubles field includes Miami’s Vallverdu and Carl Sundberg and Cory Parr and Steven Forman of Wake Forest, who are No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the preseason rankings.
Headlining this year’s Riviera All-American field is the ITA’s returning top-ranked player in Arkansas’ Aurelija Miseviciute, last year’s Riviera runner-up Ani Mijacika of Clemson and 2008 NCAA champion Amanda McDowell of Georgia Tech. Miseviciute has firmly held on to the nation’s top spot since April 22, 2008. Miseviciute ended her spring season with a record of 52-6 in singles, standing as the most ever wins in a season by a Lady’Back or Razorback tennis student-athlete. The women's singles preseason rankings feature eight of the top 10 final ranked players including the top five all intact. Rounding out the top 10: Hilary Barte of Stanford, Amanda Fink of USC, Maria Mosolova of Northwestern, Marina Cossou of California, Lenka Broosova of Baylor, Fani Chifchieva of Auburn and Sanaz Marand of North Carolina.
The doubles field includes Fresno State’s Tinesta Rowe and Melanie Gloria who rose one spot from their No. 2 final ranking of last year and USC’s Fink and Gabriela Niculescu who enter the season No. 2 in the ITA rankings.
Both tournaments include six rounds of prequalifying and qualifying tournaments with the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships having kicked off prequalifying play on Sept. 27 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The qualifying rounds are held Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 with the main draw matches beginning on Oct. 2 and lasting through Sunday, Oct. 5. The D’Novo Men’s All-American Championships start prequalifying matches on Oct. 3 in Tulsa, Okla. followed by the qualifying rounds Oct. 6-8. The main draw begins on Oct. 9 with competition wrapping up on Sunday, Oct. 12.
Past men's All-American participants include current professional stars such as recent U.S. Open quarterfinalist James Blake (in 1998 as a sophomore at Harvard) and Bob and Mike Bryan (in 1997 as sophomores at Stanford), the world's top-ranked doubles team.
The other national title opportunities this season are the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships hosted by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in November and the season-ending NCAA Championships in May.
As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit presented by the USTA, and the ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship.
Championship selections, updated results and live scoring can be found throughout both championships at www.itatennis.com.