Sept. 13, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. ----- UAB seniors Chris Helliar and Rafael Rondino each won first round singles matches, then teamed for a opening round doubles victory, to highlight the Blazers' first day of play at the 46th Annual Southern Intercollegiate Championships.
The Southern Intercollegiates, played at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the University of Georgia campus, is the oldest fall collegiate tennis tournament in the South. This year's tournament features 170 participants from 28 schools. The four-day event includes three singles divisions and two in doubles.
Overall, UAB went 4-2 on the first day of the tournament.
Helliar, from Bournemouth, England, and Rondino, a native of Barueri, Brazil, got things off to a good start Friday. Rondino picked up a first round win over Barry University's Romain Costamagna, 6-2, 6-1, in the Division I bracket. Helliar cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 opening round win in the Division II draw over Robert Dudley of Clemson.
Rondino will now meet Vanderbilt's Ryan Smith Saturday in Round of 32 singles while Helliar goes against Virginia Tech's Florian Nicoud.
The Blazer tandem teamed up later in the day to post an 8-5 doubles win in the Division I bracket over the Virginia Tech team of Jai Corbett and Hunter Koontz. Helliar and Rondino will play the UCF duo of Riaan Du Toit and Matthew Gladstone Saturday in a Round of 32 match.
Meanwhile, the UAB singles debuts for former junior college All-Americans Donovan McSeveny and Mitchell Martell wasn't quite as successful. McSeveny dropped a three-setter in Division III singles to Clemson's Brent Lett, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, while Martell fell to Renato Lombardi of Barry, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
McSeveny and Martell rallied in doubles, however, as they notched their first Blazer victory. The pair teamed for an 8-6 win over Furman's Alex Christ and Luke Synn in the Division II bracket.