GODFREY — The two top-seeded players earned their way into the main draw of the 19th Annual Lewis and Clark Community College Men’s Pro Tennis Classic Monday.
No. 1 Dominik Koepfer, of Furtwangen, Germany, posted a 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 16 Dane Webb, of Richardson, Texas.
No. 2 Rhyne Williams, of Knoxville, Tenn., won 6-4, 6-1 against No. 13 American Olukayode Alafia Damina Ayeni.
“He was a pretty tough opponent,” Williams said. “I’ve never seen the guy play before. It’s always different playing against these younger fellows. He’s really got nothing to lose out here. He was a tricky player, but I fought against the heat and played some good tennis.”
Williams played two years at the University of Tennessee, where he earned All-American honors in 2010 and 2011 and the No. 1 national singles ranking in 2011. He reached the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships and finished his career with an 83–17 singles and 66–14 doubles record.
He held a No. 114 ATP ranking in Dec. 2013, and said he knows what it is like to face tough competition. Williams played in the Australian Open in 2013 and 2014, the French Open in 2013 and the U.S. Open in 2012 and 2013.
Williams is battling back from back surgery he had in August of last year, so he is taking it a match at a time.
“I’m happy to be through qualifying and into the main,” he said. “This is one of my first few tournaments back, so I’m happy to get a few wins under my belt and hopefully will keep the momentum into the main draw.”
Others who made it through qualifying into the main include American players No. 4 Alfredo Perez, No. 8 Robbie Mudge, Jonathan Chang, Austin Smith, Alexander Brown and Sameer Kumar.
Singles and doubles main draw play begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex at LCCC.
Tennys Sandgren, who won his first USTA Futures Singles championship in the 2011 Lewis and Clark tournament, is returning as the top seed in the singles main. He will partner with his former University of Tennessee teammate Rhyne Williams for doubles action.
Sandgren is a former Top 200 player and 2011 NCAA semifinalist. He peaked at No. 183 in the world in 2013, when he won the USTA Pro Circuit season-ending Challenger in Champaign. His career was sidelined by injury in 2014, when hip surgery had him out for more than six months.
In 2015, he played the USTA and ITF Circuit events in China, Australia and Canada — winning two singles titles. He has won 10 USTA Pro Circuit/ITF Circuit Singles and 15 doubles titles.
Other notable main draw players include Wil Spencer, Gonzales Austin, Christian Harrison, Evan Song, Henrik Wiersholm and Mico Santiago.
The Lewis and Clark tournament is a United States Tennis Association (USTA) Men’s Futures Pro Circuit event. It is free and open to the public, and spectators are provided with covered stadium seating to keep them comfortable and shaded from the heat.
For more information about the Lewis and Clark tournament and to see the final scores from the days’ matches, visit www.lc.edu/usta. Contact the tournament desk at (618) 468-6252. To download high resolution photos from the tournament, visit http://bit.ly/USTA2016.