Texas-Exes finding success on the pro tennis circuit

from TexasSports.com

Longhorns making names for themselves on the ATP futures circuit and in Davis Cup competition.

With NCAA Final Four appearances in three of the last five seasons, Texas head coach Michael Center and assistant coach Ricardo Rubio continue to keep the Longhorns’ men’s tennis program among the nation’s elite.

Excellence in the collegiate setting is nothing new for former Longhorns such as Dimitar Kutrovsky and Luis Diaz Barriga. Now, as professionals, some of the finest players in school history are making names for themselves in the professional ranks.

Kutrovsky, who finished his Longhorns career in May as the winningest player in school history, reached a career high of No. 546 in the ATP world singles rankings in October. The Bulgarian reached the singles finals at an ATP futures event in June and has since made two singles semifinals appearances at ATP futures events in addition to two quarterfinalist appearances.

Kutrovsky teamed up with former Texas teammate Josh Zavala to win the doubles draw in October at an ATP futures event in Mansfield, Texas. Kutrovsky won another ATP futures doubles draw in November and reached two additional doubles finals. He is set to represent his native Bulgaria at the Davis Cup in 2011.

Diaz Barriga and Miguel Reyes Varela – who solidified a formidable doubles tandem during UT’s run to the NCAA title match in 2008 – have enjoyed productive seasons together in doubles play. The pair has won four ATP futures doubles titles this season, with one title in Italy and three in Brazil.

Diaz Barriga reached a career high of No. 335 in the ATP world doubles rankings and now ranks No. 347 in the world. Currently ranked 718th in the world in singles, Diaz Barriga reached the singles semifinals at an ATP futures event last May in Brazil. He notched a doubles win to help Mexico to victory over Guatemala last March at the Davis Cup.

Reyes Varela now ranks 354th in the world in doubles after reaching a career high of No. 352 in the world. He teamed with Diaz Barriga to make four additional appearances in the finals of ATP futures events in their respective doubles draws this year. Reyes Varela represented Mexico in the Davis Cup in September and registered a doubles victory to help his home country to a victory over Venezuela.

Zavala teamed up with UT’s Andersen to win the doubles draw at an ATP futures event last July and has since made two additional finals appearances with Andersen in the doubles draws of ATP futures events. Zavala ranks 595th in the ATP world doubles rankings and ranked as high as No. 589 earlier this year.

Former Longhorn Olivier Sajous ranks 633rd in the world in singles. Sajous, who clinched UT’s NCAA quarterfinal win over Georgia in 2009, has reached the semifinals at two ATP futures events this year and reached the quarterfinals at another ATP futures event in October.

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