Photo by Taylor Soule
Drake strongly defended its home turf over the weekend with a solid showing at the Drake Fall Invitational. Three Bulldogs entered Sunday with a shot at winning a singles title.
Junior Anis Ghorbel advanced to the championship match in the ‘A’ flight by taking down Brandon Lupo of Northern Colorado (6-1, 6-4) and Maksym Bartiuk of Northern Illinois (6-1, 6-3).
Junior Jonathan Hadash also stayed alive in bottom half of the ‘A’ flight with victories over Amrik Donkena of Gustavus Adolphus (6-0, 4-6, 6-2) and Billy Paluch of Creighton (6-1, 6-1).
If Hadash wins in the semifinals, then he will face off with Ghorbel in an all-Drake championship round.
Freshman Alen Salibasic continues to make large strides in his first season of collegiate tennis. The Bosnian native won both his matches in straight sets to reach the semifinals of the ‘B’ flight. Salibasic even notched a victory against a Big Ten opponent in his decisive 6-1, 6-2 win over Connor Gilmore of Iowa.
Freshman Grant Tesmer also impressed for the Bulldogs, winning his lone match of the day to advance in the ‘C’ flight.
Drake did even better in doubles play last Friday. The team of Ghorbel and Salibasic steamrolled through four matches en route to earning the title in the ‘A’ flight. The duo won its first two matches 8-1 against Northern Colorado and Gustavus Adolphus tandems. The team defeated Creighton 8-3 in the semifinals before being truly challenged in the championship.
The Gustavus Adolphus duo of Donkena and Mya Smith-Dennis pushed the Drake tandem to the brink, but Ghorbel and Salibasic closed out an 8-6 victory.
The Bulldogs did not enter any other duo into any of the draws.
Northern Illinois, Iowa, Creighton, Gustavus Adolphus, Northern Colorado and Drake were the six schools that competed in the invitational.
Hadash faced Axel Lagerof from Northern Illinois in the second semifinal match of the ‘A’ flight yesterday.
Salibasic drew Matt Hagan from Iowa in the semifinal round of the ‘B’ flight as he looked to dispatch another Hawkeye in as many days. Tesmer played Elliot Baker of Creighton in his semifinal match in the ‘C’ flight.
This weekend, some Drake players will head to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the All-American Qualifying tournament. The team returns to Tulsa on Oct. 21-23 for the International Tennis Association Central Regional tournament to wrap up the fall season.
Details from yesterday’s matches will be available in the next issue of The Times-Delphic.
Next Big Match
Saturday, Oct. 1
All-American Qualifying Tournament