DECATUR - Tennys Sandgren's name is too perfect.
Sandgren is not only from Tennessee, he plays tennis for the Volunteers. But he said the origin of the name has nothing to do with where he's from or the sport he excels at.
"It's my great-grandfather's name - his name was Tennys," said Sandgren, who is from Gallatin - outside of Nashville. "He didn't play tennis at all - it's not related to tennis. It's Swedish, and my parents really liked it. It's definitely unique, that's for sure."
On Thursday, Sandgren - coming off an upset of eighth-seeded Devin Britton in the first round of the Ursula Beck Pro Tennis Classic - survived a grueling second set to beat Notre Dame's Gregory Andrews, 6-3, 7-5 and advance to the quarterfinals. Andrews broke Sandgren and took a 5-4 lead in the second set, but Sandgren recovered to win the final three games.
"Neither of us served well - it was the battle of returns and that made every point really long and really tiring," Sandgren said. "He was hitting big forehands and was at least 10 feet closer to the baseline than I was on average, and that's not where I want to be. To be consistently back there is not good. But there was a point where that patience paid off on some big points where he tried to do too much."
Andrews appeared to gain momentum when he won a back-and-forth game to go up 5-4 in the second. But he couldn't capitalize.
"I didn't serve my best, and a player of that caliber is going to take advantage of that and get a lot of breaks," Andrews said. "I gave him too many free points and it allowed him to make a quick swing after I had taken the lead in the second set."
U of I's Czerwinski ousted
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Marek Czerwinski, last season's No. 1 for the University of Illinois, was a point away from winning the first set of his match against former Baylor player John Peers. And though he insisted his failure to get that point didn't effect him in his 7-6 (7), 6-2 loss to Peers, he struggled to gain any traction in the second set.
"It was disappointing, but I didn't feel too bad about it - I just told myself to keep plugging away in the second set and leave that behind," Czerwinski said. "But I played a couple sloppy service games in the second set and that really cost me. I wasn't going for stupid shots or anything, but you can't make any mistakes in close matches like this."
Peers, the tournament's seventh seed, said once he survived the first set with a win, he got on a roll.
"I found a game plan that worked and just stuck with it," said Peers, a native Australian.
Czerwinski's former U of I teammate Roy Kalmanovich fared better, beating sixth-seeded Takanyi Garanganga 7-5, 6-4.
"He's doing great," Czerwinski said of Kalmanovich. "He's hitting it well and he loves these conditions."
FIfth-seeded Austin Krajicek lost to Texas A&M teammate Jeff Dadamo, leaving Peers and third-seeded Bassam Beidas - a 7-5, 7-6 (2) winner over Raymond Sarmiento - as the only remaining seeded players.
In doubles play, Saturday's finals were set with two matches that couldn't have been any closer. Top-seeded Jean Andersen and Josh Zavala beat Benjamin Rogers and John-Patrick Smith 6-7 (8), 7-5 (5), (10-8). They'll play Devin Britton and Bradley Cox - 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), (10-8) winners over Boris Nicola Bakalov and Kiryl Harbatsiuk.