Seniors Alex Knight and Runhao Hua once again traveled alone to represent the Michigan men’s tennis team in ITA competition. This time, at the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Indian Wells, Calif., and Knight came out of the tournament as the consolation bracket champion.
In doubles play, Hua and Knight lost their first round against the doubles duo of Rodrigo Banzer and Leonardo Telles from Texas, 6-3, 2-6, 9-11.
Runhao and Knight capitalized on their next match against the doubles team of Griffith and Nishimura from California in a tough three-set match winning 6-2, 5-7, 10-8. They also won their next round against the doubles pair from Wake Forest, but fell against Crawford and Perez-Blanco of Florida 3-6, 4-6.
Knight’s road through the singles bracket began with a first-round loss against a tough No. 24 Martin Redlicki of UCLA, as he dropped the first two sets, 3-6, 4-6.
“I didn’t think too much about the loss,” Knight said. “It’s great just coming out here and winning matches.”
Despite going into the consolation bracket, Knight didn’t change his game plan or mindset. Ranked as the No. 51 player in the nation, he came back and played a tough fought match against Old Dominion’s Adam Moundir and prevailed, 7-5, 7-5. Knight then received a bye round due to another player’s injury.
“I was really looking to play my game,” Knight said. “I wanted to keep the big serve, look for the forehand and attack.”
Knight’s steady mindset allowed him to win his quarterfinal match against Henry Patten of UNC Ashville, 6-4, 6-2. Knight then fended off senior Mike Pervolarakis of Portland, 6-1, 6-2, in his semifinal match.
Knight entered his consolation finals match against Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State with the same mentality. The first set was back-and-forth, as both Knight and Orandini held serve for most of the set. Finally, Knight capitalized on the one and only break point he’d have in the first set, and took the set, 6-4.
With the momentum and lead leaning Knight’s way, he came out to a quick start in the second set by gaining a commanding 3-0 lead. Knight would continue his momentum for the rest of the set, getting three breaks and sealing the consolation title with a 6-4, 6-2, win.
Despite the great success Knight had this weekend, he wasn’t looking for his own personal goals, but focused on the team instead.
“Looking forward to this season,” Knight said, “all I’m concerned about is getting the team a Big Ten Title.”