Liberty's men's tennis standout Sam Matheson will face Georgia's Wayne Montgomery in the opening round of the single draw at the 2016 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. (EST).
The NCAA released the singles and doubles draws for both the 2016 NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championship earlier today. All singles and doubles matches will be played at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., with the champions being crowned next Monday.
Montgomery is currently ranked No. 32 in the country in the latest ITA national rankings. The sophomore enters the singles draw with a 27-13 overall record, including a 3-0 record in the team portion of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship.
Montgomery and No. 7 ranked Georgia advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship team competition, dropping a narrow 4-3 decision to No. 11 Oklahoma, earlier today. Montgomery, playing at the No. 2 singles slot, posted a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 comeback victory over No. 24 Axel Alvarez to give the Bulldogs a chance at advancing to the title match.
The winner of the Matheson vs. Montgomery contest will face the winner of the singles match between Virginia's Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (No. 9 in the country) vs. Ole Miss' Stefan Lindmark (No. 60 in the country). The round of 32 match will take place on Thursday.
Matheson, currently ranked a career-best No. 93 in the latest ITA national rankings, is the first Liberty Flame in program history to qualify for the NCAA singles championship. Matheson is just the ninth Big South competitor to receive a bid and the first since Philippe Tsangaridis of Coastal Carolina in 2014.
Matheson finished the spring season with an 18-1 overall record, pacing the Big South conference. The New Zealand native also notched a program-best 28 singles victories between the fall and spring seasons.
Matheson posted the second-best, single-season winning percentage in program history with a 28-5 (.848) overall record. The Liberty junior currently ranks eighth in program history with 50 career wins in two seasons and is also currently second in career winning percentage with a 50-19 (.725) overall mark.
Matheson was named the Big South Men's Tennis Player of the Year on April 13, becoming the first player in program history to achieve this honor. The New Zealand native was also named to the All-Big South Singles first team and All-Big South Doubles first-team listings.
All matches at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship will be the best-of-three sets. No-ad scoring and a seven-point tiebreaker at six-games-all will be used for all matches. There were 14 automatic qualifiers, 50 at-large selections and eight alternates for the championship.
Automatic qualification into the Division I singles championships was awarded to any conference with one or more eligible singles players ranked in the ITA Top 125. All singles players must have had a minimum of 13 completed singles matches, with six matches in the spring in order to be selected as an automatic qualifier or an at-large selection.
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