September 9, 1997

Men's Tennis Newcomer Reaches U.S. Open Quarterfinals

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA---University of Virginia freshman Brian Vahaly advanced to the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles competition at the U.S. Open Junior Championships last week at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.

Vahaly, from Atlanta, Ga., defeated Simone Amorico of the United States 6-3, 7-5 in the first round. He then downed Andrew Park (USA) 6-0, 6-4 in the second round, before bowing to South African Westley Whitehouse, the fourth-ranked junior player in the world, 6-3, 6-3. Whitehouse lost in the finals to Arnaud di Pasquale of France 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1.

Vahaly teamed with Harvard-bound James Blake in doubles at the U.S. Open Juniors. They defeated Jaco Vanderwefthuizen and Westley Whitehouse, the third-seeded team, 7-6 (6), 7-5 in the first round. In the second round they beat Irakli Labazde and Kobi Ziv 6-4, 6-1. They were eliminated by the #5 seeded team of Nathan Healey and Lalleyton Hewitt 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Vahaly, currently ranked 18th in the ITF Junior World Rankings and #1 in the United States, is generally regarded as the top recruit in the nation this year. He has had a very successful summer prior to coming to UVa. He reached the quarterfinals of Junior Wimbledon earlier this summer and won the Easter Bowl tournament in Miami, Fla., in April. He was the top seed at the USTA Boys' National Championships in August, but was forced to default due to an injury.

Three other top-flite junior players join Vahaly to make up the nation's third-best recruiting class (behind Florida and Texas A&M) according to College Tennis Weekly.

Tommy Croker, from Alexandria, Va./St. Stephen's School, was the top junior player in the state of Virginia in 1996, #2 in the Mid-Atlantic region and #138 in the United States. (The 1997 rankings have not been released.)

Brian Hunter, from Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill High School, is currently one of the top-70 players in the country and is considered by UVa head coach Thomas Johnston to be the 'sleeper' of the group. Hunter already has one of the best serves on the team, according to Johnston.

Huntley Montgomery, also from Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill H.S, was the top player from North Carolina. In 1995 he was ranked #16 in the U.S. and is considered to be one of the top-10 players entering college this fall.

"This is the finest recruiting class in UVa history," said Johnston. "In addition to being great tennis players each of these young men are outstanding students."

The Cavaliers start their fall season at the National Clay Court tournament in Baltimore, Md., on September 25-28.