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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Freshmen Carlos Cueto and Joey Burkhardt continue to hold their own against veteran opponents, and are each one match away from reaching the main draw at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Cueto started the day at 8 a.m. and bested Ionut Beleleu of Oklahoma 6-3, 6-2.

Burkhardt began the same time as Cueto, and the results were much the same. Burkhardt beat No. 61 Piotr Banas of Louisiana-Lafayette 6-1, 7-5. In two tournaments this year - the other being the Southern Intercollegiate Sept. 19-21 in Athens, Ga. - the newcomer has defeated three top-100 players.

And like in the Southern Intercollegiate, it is Burkhardt and Cueto who have advanced farthest in the singles draw for the Gators.

While it may seem the two freshmen are trying to outdo each other, the promising duo has been paired together for doubles action. They started playing together in Athens and continued in Tulsa.

In the first qualifying match, Burkhardt and Cueto beat no. 47 Andres Carrasco and Jay Goldman of Arizona 8-2. In the second round, the third match of the day for both Gators, Burkhardt and Cueto came up short against no. 37 Miguel Reyes Varela and Olivier Sajous of Texas 8-6.

In other action, Tyler Hochwalt lost against no. 75 Houston Barrick of Virginia 6-4, 6-2.

Hochwalt's week does not end, though. He will team with Jeff Dadamo in the main draw starting Thursday.

Dadamo, who fell in the first round Monday, beat Patrick Collins of Tulsa 6-1, 6-1 in a consolation match.

In another consolation match, Dan Cash lost against no. 94 Laurent Garcin of Nevada 6-4, 6-1. The All-American has been rough for Cash, who lost his last three matches this week.

Today could be a big day for Cueto and Burkhardt. With a bid in the main draw as the prize, Cueto takes on no. 98 Roy Kalmonovic of Illinois. Burkhardt will play Kalle Norberg of Mississippi. Both matches take place at 9 a.m.

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