EDWARDSVILLE – Carson Haskins of suburban St. Louis and Jason Kerst from the University of Iowa won their opening qualifying matches, while former Edwardsville High and current Quincy University player Erik Weiler lost on the opening day of the ninth annual $25,000 Edwardsville Futures presented by The EGHM Foundation tennis tournament Monday at the Edwardsville Tennis Center.
In the feature match of the day, Haskins won a three-set thriller over number eight seed Preston Touliatos of the University of Tennessee 7-5, 3-6, 10-5, while Kerst defeated McClain Kessler of the University of Florida 6-2, 7-6 (9-7 in the tiebreak). Weiler lost his first-round qualifying match to number 10 seed Gianni Ross 6-1, 6-1.
Touliatos came out of the gates hard with strong shots, but Haskins was able to hold his own in the first set, gaining a key service break with a win to tie the set at 5-5, then going on to win the next two games to take the set 7-5. Touliatos bounced back to even the best-of-three set match with the 6-3 win but did look exhausted, going as far as to request a Coke before the final set tiebreak, which was an 18-point set, the first player to 10 while leading by at least two points is the winner.
Haskins took charge and jumped out to an early lead, climaxing the match with a service ace to take the final set 10-5 and advance to the final qualifying round.
Meanwhile, Kerst was able to upend Kessler with a brilliant display of side-to-side defensive play to run down every shot from Kessler. In the end, it took seven match points for Kerst to take the second set in the tiebreak, but he prevailed 7-6 to advance.
The other qualifying matches held true to form, with seeded players advancing, the only exception being the number six seed, Mwenda Mbithi, who lost to Jason Kros 6-4, 4-6, 11-9.
In the other scores of the day, top-seeded Errol Smith defeated Ben Muckelroy 6-0, 6-1, A.trice Pickens won over Australian Winter Meagher 6-1. 6-4, JanMagnus Johnson defeated Adrian Chamdani 5-7,6-3, 10-4, Bradley Frye advanced over Kareem Al Alaf of Syria 3-2 in the first set when Al Alaf was forced to retire, third seed Alexander Lebedev won over Lazar Markovic 6-0, 6-1, Abraham Asaba of Ghana won over Eric Sock 6-4, 6-1, number four seed George Goldhoff eliminated Alejandro Valencia of Colombia 6-1, 6-3, and Ross won over Weiler to complete the upper half of the bracket.
In the lower half, fifth seed Alexander Klintcharov of New Zealand defeated Parth Aggarwal of India 7-5, 5-7, 10-5, it was Jonathan Sorbo of Canada winning over Eric Morris 6-2, 6-4, Kros eliminating Mbithi, 16-seeded Joshua Howard-Tripp of South Africa and the University of Arkansas winning over Yang Liu of China 3-6. 6-4, 10-5, Alfredo Perez eliminating Nathan Chavez 6-1, 6-2, Kerst defeating Kessler, Haskins winning over Touliatos and Andrew Fenty defeating Varun Luthra 6-1, 6-2.
Day two of the Futures will see eight players qualify for the main draw, with play beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Feature matches will be Haskins going up against Fenty, Lebedev against Asaba, and Goldhoff versus Asaba, followed by Smith against Pickens, Perez meeting up with Kerst, and Kros against Howard-Tripp.
The main draw of the doubles also starts on Tuesday, with play commencing after 12 noon. Feature matches include top-seeded Sekou Bangura and Anderson Reed playing against Frye and Haskins, fourth-seeded Alexander Cozbinov and Austin Rapp going up against Kessler and Touliatos, Goldhoff and Perez meeting up with Connor Farren and Australian Brandon Walkin, Eric Morris and Sock meeting third-seed Luis Patino of Mexico and James Trotter of Japan, and second-seed Ian Dempster and Corey Lovett playing against Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus and Michail Pervolarakis of Greece.