by Bobby Knight. Pictured LSU's Boris Arias
After a few wet days in Tulsa the 256 person prequalifying draw is coming to a close on Monday morning and that'll make way for the 128 person qualifying draw which will include the 16 pre-qualifiers. Out of the 32 seeds in the prequalifying draw only 11 have made it to the final round. Those 11 seeds still in the draw are Rogerio Ribeiro (East Tennessee St), Tin Ostojic (Wichita State), Farris Gosea (Illinois), Rafael Rondino (UAB), Sven Lalic (Indiana), Henry Craig (Denver), Brett Clark (UNC), David Holiner (Texas), Stefan Lindmark (Ole Miss), Facundo Lugones (TCU), and Constantin Christ (Ohio State). There are 5 freshmen that are still in the running with Jordan Daigle (Virginia), Sam Shropshire (Northwestern), Elliott Orkin (Florida), Andrew Schafer (South Carolina), and Ricky Medinilla (Purdue) all trying to make it to the qualifying draw. Of those 5 at most 3 will make it since Daigle and Shropshire are meeting in the final round along with Schafer and Medinilla.
The 1st round of the qualifying draw starts this morning at 9:30 and will run into the night hours. Below are a couple of matches that look intriguing and could provide upset potential.
(1) Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (Louisville) vs. Uros Petronijevic (San Diego) - Petronijevic won the Napa Valley Classic a few weeks back so he's playing with a good bit of confidence. Stiefelmeyer lost his opening match at each of the 2 fall tournaments he's played then rebounded to win 3 straight in the consolation draw. I'll go with the hot hand in this one. Prediction: Petronijevic in 3
Nick Horton (NC State) vs. Daniil Proskura (Alabama) - The Pack freshmen, Horton, has played well so far in the fall with a pair of losses in 3 sets to Duke's Michael Redlicki and Fred Saba while Proskura won both of his matches in Napa against guys that will play in the top half of their teams lineup. I think the Bama #1 will use his experience to pull through though Horton will keep it close. Proskura in 3.
(25) Tony Lupieri (Baylor) vs. Bruno Semenzato (Duke) - Semenzato is 4-0 in the fall including a win over a top 5 opponent (Bogaerts). Lupieri is 3-1 this fall with the loss being a default due to injury in the semis of the HEB. I think the Duke sophomore continues on his roll and takes it in straights. Prediction: Semenzato in 2.
(4) Harrison Richmond (Virginia) vs. Alvaro Nazal (Gonzaga) - Richmond is off to a slow start so far going 0-3 with all 3 losses in straight sets while Nazal went 2-1 at the HEB Baylor Intercollegiates which included a win over a ranked opponent (Zsiga). I don't see Richmond all of a sudden turning it around. Prediction: Nazal in 2.
(23) Aaron Pfister (Mich St) vs. Austin Smith (Georgia) - This matches up the Michigan State #1 against the Georgia #3. Smith has already compiled a 10-2 record in 2 fall tournaments with 3 of those wins coming over opponents ranked in the top 60 (Austin twice & Reese) while Pfister will be making his season debut. I think the Georgia sophomore will continue playing at a high level and will score the upset. Prediction: Smith in 2
(20) Arturs Kazijevs (SMU) vs. Karue Sell (UCLA) - This matches up the SMU #1 versus the UCLA #6. While Sell will likely play higher in the lineup this year I don't think he'll have enough to get the win in this one. Prediction: Kazijevs in 2.
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