Menichini Upsets Van Elden in NCAA Singles Championship First Round
May 26, 2004
Senior Alex Menichini from the 16th-ranked TCU men's tennis team upset Mark Van Elden from Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship Wednesday. Menichini, the nation's 48th-ranked player, defeated No. 24 Van Elden in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, to advance. He will face No. 8-rated Sam Warburg of Stanford in the second round Thursday, May 27, at 9 a.m. CDT. Warburg moved on after surviving a scare from No. 42 Stephen Mitchell of Alabama, winning 2-6, 7-6, 6-3.
"It's a great feeling," said Menichini. "It's been kind of a tough year for me, but the hard work is finally paying off. This is as much for the team as it is more me. I want to put the capper on the great season we had."
Menichini and Van Elden stayed on serve in each set until the Horned Frog broke him at 5-4 to claim each set.
"It was really windy toward the end of our match and the conditions were tough," said Menichini. "He (Van Elden) can hit big shots, but I knew if I kept pressuring him he would crack. You have to be tough mentally and stay focused in order to win at an event like this."
Menichini and Warburg have never met at the collegiate or junior level. Both played the No. 1 slot for their respective teams and hail from the state of California. Menichini is a native of Calabasas, while Warburg is from Sacramento.
Menichini is 15-16 on the year and went 7-12 in dual matches this season. He is the first Horned Frog since All-American Trace Fielding in 2001 to compete in either of the individual championships. Should Menichini defeat Warburg, he will garner All-America praise and become only the 20th Frog to hold such distinction. Of those 20, only 10 have received the recognition in singles. Esteban Carril was the last in 2001 when he earned the accolade for the third time in as many years.
The 2004 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships are being hosted by the University of Tulsa at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. Live scoring of all the matches can be found by visiting the official Web site of Tulsa athletics, www.tulsahurricane.com.