Ben Smith has reached the semifinals of the ITF Futures in Frinton, England.
UNO's Smith Reaches Semifinals of ITF Futures Event
FRINTON, England - After finishing the spring ranked No. 67 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association doubles' rankings with teammate Calvin Kemp, University of New Orleans men's tennis player Ben Smith has spent his summer competing against some of the best players in the world.
Smith's most recent success saw the rising junior reach the men's doubles' semifinals of the $15,000 Frinton ITF Futures event, which allows young professionals to progress up the ATP international tennis rankings. Smith and his partner, Ashley Watling of Tulsa, were granted a wild card entry into the draw as amateurs.
Through two matches, the pairing made the most of their time against the professionals, picking up a pair of straight set matches, before they fell on Thursday 6-3, 6-3 to the third-seeded Irish pairing of Colin O'Brien and Trisan Farron-Mahon in the semifinals.
"We didn't serve well and that really costs you on grass against these guys," said Smith, via e-mail. "They made a lot of first serves and great returns so it was an uphill battle."
"We were unlucky on a few break points, but on this day, they deserved it."
Despite the loss, Smith and Watling earned seven ATP doubles ranking points, which will place the Privateer junior into the international rankings.
Their march to the semifinals began with a "Round of 16" victory against the top-seeded tandem of Ignacio Coll-Riudavets and Javier Marti. The Spaniards, ranked No. 295 and No. 710, respectively in the ATP singles' rankings, fell 6-3, 6-4 to the two college athletes.
In the quarterfinals, Smith and Watling defeated Clement Reix of France and Patrick Telawetz of Austria, 6-2, 6-2.
In addition to the two wins at the professional event, Smith has posted an undefeated record while playing for his national club league team.
The native of Ipswich, England has not dropped a match at No. 2 singles or when pairing with Watling to form the squad's No. 1 doubles unit. During his run, Smith has also added three regional tournaments - two singles' and one doubles' - proudly displaying his UNO attire on way to victory.