GODFREY – Saturday was a winning day for the majority of top-seeded players in the second round of qualifying in the 16th Annual Lewis and Clark Community College USTA Men’s Pro Circuit Futures tournament.
Of the 16 seeded players in the qualifying field, 12 are advancing to the third round when the matches begin Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex at the college and Alton High School tennis courts.
No. 1 American Jeremy Efferding, 20, defeated American Elliot Minvielle 6-1, 6-0 Saturday. Efferding just finished his sophomore year playing for Texas A&M and currently has a singles ranking of 1070. He will play American Charles Depaolo, an incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina.
No. 2 American Shane Vinsant just finished his freshman year at Texas A&M and is ranked 1070 in singles. He defeated Fabian Spaar, 24, of Switzerland and will play American John Templeman.
No. 3 American Jared Donaldson, 16, is ranked 1083 and will play Hans Hach Verdugo, of Mexico. Both players made it into the second round of the main draw at the Joplin Futures last week. Verdugo defeated American Konrad Zeiba 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(7).
“It was a long match and I didn’t start off as I wanted, but I improved with each game and came out on top,” said Verdugo, former tennis player for Abilene Christian University.
No. 4 Dane Webb just finished his sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma. The All American finished the season with a No. 64 ranking in singles and will play American Quentin Monaghan who just finished his freshman year at Notre Dame.
Other seeded players continuing Sunday include No. 5 Isade Juneau, of Canada, No. 6 American Marcos Giron, No. 9 American Ronnie Schneider, No. 10 Sahr Timothy Kpulun, of Sierria Leone, No. 11 American Devin Mc Carthy, No. 14 Oleg Dmitrieve, of Russia, No. 15 Vullnet Tashi, of Switzerland, and No. 16 American Jared Hiltzik, who just finished his freshman year playing for the University of Illinois.
Steve Moehn, 41, of St. Louis, and a Marquette Catholic High School graduate did not make it through the second round Saturday. His opponent, No. 9 Ronnie Schneider, 18, of Indiana, won the match 6-1, 6-0.
“He is a good player,” Moehn said after the match. “I’ve had a great time playing in the tournament. Having my family and friends come out today to support me is awesome.”
The University of Illinois players had a great show of support Saturday too as family members, friends and fans were in the stands cheering for them. Several Illini players and alums will continue qualifying Sunday including Alexander Jesse, No. 16 Jared Hiltzik, Fares Ghasya, and Roy Kalmanovich.
Ghasya and fellow Illini Brian Page battled each other Saturday with Ghasya winning 6-3, 7-6 (5).
One of the youngest players in the tournament, Liam Caruana, 15, of New Braunfels, Texas, lost to No. 6 Marcos Giron 7-6(2), 6-4, but he wasn’t down about it. His coach, Larry Riggs, said it was a great experience and Caruana played well.
“I just played one of the best college players in America and I played well,” said Caruana referring to Giron, a UCLA sophomore who just played in the NCAA Division Championship this year.
Coach Riggs, who played professional tennis, was head tennis coach at Pepperdine University and son of Wimbledon Champion Bobby Riggs, brought several players to the tournament this year. His son, Danny Riggs, said he hoped for more wins for he and his teammates and was disappointed by his loss of 6-2, 6-3 to No. 4 Dane Webb.
Riggs said he and his fellow players are going to stay at the tournament and may play in the doubles main.
For more information about the tournament or to get directions to campus, call (618) 468-6252.