Liberty men's tennis' Sam Matheson continued his historic run today at the ITA All-American tournament in Tulsa, Okla. The New Zealand native posted a 2-0 record en route to advancing to the second round of the qualifying draw on Tuesday.
Matheson needed just one win this morning to advance to the qualifying round of the ITA All-American tournament, a feat that no Flame has ever accomplished. Jefta Kecic was all that stood in the way of Matheson and Liberty history. The junior fell in the first round to Kecic, 6-4, setting up for a tough finish. Matheson was up to the task as he ousted Kecic in back-to-back sets, 6-2, 7-6 (2) to advance into the qualifying draw this afternoon.
Matheson's next opponent would be Mike Redlicki of Arkansas in the first round of the qualifying draw. Redlicki, a transfer from Duke, was highly ranked in 2015 as the No. 29 singles player in the country. Redlicki was a high school phenom, ranked the No. 5 prospect by the Tennis RPI rankings, and advanced to the 2012 U.S. Open in the doubles main draw with Dennis Novikov of UCLA. Matheson once again proved to be up to the task, handing Redlicki a three-set loss. Matheson claimed the first set, 6-4, before being blanked in the second set by a score of 6-0. The New Zealand native rose to the task, defeating the Arkansas junior in the final set, 6-3, to advance to the second day of the qualifying draw tomorrow morning.
"Sam is making a great run right now at a big tournament," stated head coach Chris Johnson. "Our goal is always to put players in situations where if they play good tennis they have an opportunity to do some special things. Sam is certainly accomplishing that this week and we are all very proud of him and his hard work…Go Flames!!"
Matheson bested Hugo Dojas on Tuesday morning, defeating the Red Raiders' senior in straight sets. The New Zealand native claimed the first set, 6-4, before rolling to a 6-2 second set victory. The junior is now 6-0 in the tournament. Matheson will square off against Walker Duncan of Georgia in the third round of the qualifying draw tomorrow. The winner will advance to the main draw on Thursday.