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BLACKSBURG, Va. – Carlos Lopez Villa of the Old Dominion University men’s tennis team took down No. 5 seed Alexis Heugas from Virginia Commonwealth University in the UTSA/ITA Regional Singles Main Draw Championship on Tuesday afternoon. Lopez Villa becomes only the second male in school history to capture the Regional Single’s crown and the first ever since the ITA downsized to only 12 regions.
In the Regional Final, Lopez Villa (Madrid, Spain) only needed two sets (6-3, 6-3) to knock off Alexis Heugas (Jurancon, France).
Lopez Villa put his emotions into words after the big win, “I have the best feeling ever right now. I'm so emotional because I worked so hard with my teammates in order to achieve some good things and it eventually happened. Pushing each other in practice made us better and better.”
Head men’s tennis coach at Old Dominion, Aljosa Piric, spoke of Lopez Villa’s performance, “I am most pleased with Carlos' fight, grit and determination. He won two matches 7-6 in the third set leading up to the final match, and he went out this morning and executed the game plan in the finals to perfection. He is not concerned about the things he can't control, instead he keeps coming after people with such persistence that it breaks them down mentally.”
In 2006, Old Dominion sophomore Harel Srugo (Kibutz Gazit, Israel) captured the ITA Regional Championship after defeating senior teammate Henrique Cancado (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), 7-5, 6-2. At that time, the ITA had a total of 18 regions; where as now, only 12 regions exist.
“Carlos’ win is really a byproduct of his work ethic and commitment to reaching his potential from the day that he stepped foot on campus at ODU,” Piric explained. “This year in particular, the emphasis has been on his physical strength and the results of that have been on display for him this past week. Our strength and performance coach, Alex Parr, is doing a great job not only with Carlos, but with all our guys.”
With the win, Lopez Villa now receives one of only 32 bids to the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. on Nov. 7-10.
“Playing in this tournament will be a good opportunity for me because I'm going to play with the best players in college tennis,” exclaimed Lopez Villa. “I'm really excited because it is a unique opportunity and it was really difficult to qualify for. It will definitely help me get better and improve for the rest of my college career.”
Piric ended with, “I want Carlos to embrace this experience, enjoy the process and fully understand that he belongs there.”
HOW DID CARLOS BECOME THE REGIONAL CHAMP? HERE’S THE TRACK HE TOOK:
On Friday, No. 6 seeded Carlos Lopez Villa (ODU) received a bye in the First Round. On Saturday, Lopez Villa defeated Virginia Tech’s Aaron Gomez, 7-6(12), 6-1.
In the Quarterfinal match on Monday morning, Lopez Villa knocked off UVA’s Jordan Daigle in a tough three setter, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(6).
With the win, Lopez Villa landed himself a spot in the Semifinal match on Monday afternoon against George Washington’s No. 9 seed Francisco Dias. Lopez Villa and Dias also went to three sets, but in the end Lopez Villa was too much for Dias (4-6, 7-5, 7-6(1)).
Lopez Villa reflected on the tournament, “Every match I played was a battle, especially from the quarterfinals to the final match. The atmosphere was great. Even though I suffered a lot to win every match, I really enjoyed it because I believed that I could achieve it.”