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Three Bulldogs alive at ITA All-American Championships

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The Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships began last Saturday in Tulsa, Okla., and two of the three Drake Bulldogs in competition moved on to the third round of the pre-qualifying singles draw.

Freshman Alen Salibasic and juniors Jean Erasmus and James McKie were the three Bulldogs in the pre-qualifying round, and all three players had a bye the first round. Only Salibasic and McKie advanced to the third round, though.

McKie was the first Drake player to post a victory, as the junior captain took out Liberty’s Dillon Segur 6-1, 6-2. McKie was in control the entire match, never allowing the Liberty freshman, the sixth-ranked junior player in North Carolina last year, to make his mark in the match.

“I felt really good on the court today,” McKie said. “These courts are really slow and bouncy, so I’ll have to be ready to grind and battle.”

McKie will face sophomore Jarryd Chaplin of the Tennessee Volunteers, an incredibly gifted player from Australia. Chaplin was ranked as high as No. 72 in the ITF World Junior Rankings and was a member of the 2008 Australian Junior Davis Cup team.

Shortly after McKie left the court, he was joined in the third round by Salibasic. The freshman also posted a straight-set win against his opponent, taking out Dominique Maden of Clemson 7-5, 6-3. Maden, a sophomore for the Tigers, spent much of the year playing near the top of the lineup, including a few stints at the top singles spot.

Salibasic will now face Jackson Withrow of Texas A&M. Withrow, one of the top freshmen in this past recruiting class, is best known for participating in the 2011 U.S. Open in the main doubles draw with the next great U.S. hopeful, Jack Sock.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Erasmus failed to get past the second round, as he fell to Missouri Valley Conference rival Matheus Pereira of Wichita State 6-2, 6-3. Pereira, who played primarily at the second singles and doubles spot last season, is now the Shockers’ top player.

McKie and Salibasic are now in the third round, and each player will need to win two more matches on Sunday to join junior Anis Ghorbel in the qualifying round that begins today.

The ITA All-American Championships will continue all the way through next weekend, so The Times-Delphic will follow the Bulldogs as long as they keep winning.

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