Edwardsville's Seth Lipe.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

Edwardsville's Erik Weiler

EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville’s Seth Lipe was the only local player to advance to the Round of 16, while rain forced the final two matches in progress to be moved to Wednesday morning as the Pro Wildcard Challenge Presented by TheBANK of Edwardsville got underway Tuesday at the Edwardsville Tennis Center.

Players are competing for spots in next week’s Edwardsville Futures tournament, the eighth annual event, which will be held August 6-12 at the Center.

Conditions were overcast for most of the morning, with temperatures mainly in the low 70s before the rains came in the early afternoon. Fifteen of the day’s 17 matches, however, were able to be played to completion.

Before the rain started, tournament director Dave Lipe was very pleased with how the competition progressed.

“So far, we’ve been lucky with the weather,” Lipe said. “There’s rain around us, but it hasn’t rained here. So, it’s a good first day for the Pro Wildcard Challenge presented by TheBANK of Edwardsville. We’ve got a strong field of 33 players; really had one no-show. Don’t know what that’s about yet, but players have been great, competition has been very good, and it will continue to get better over the next couple of days.”

Seth Lipe was the only local player to advance to the Round of 16, by default over Sean Robles of Yorba Linda, Calif., but the other local players played very well in their matches.

“The local guys have had a good chance to compete against some really great competition,” Lipe said. “Ben Blake, Ethan Booker, Seth Lipe, Zach Trimpe, Erik Weiler, Drake Schreiber, all these guys have had a chance to play some very good competition. So far, Seth is the only one to advance forward in the draw, mostly because that this guy (Robles) didn’t show up. We don’t know if he would have won had his opponent showed up, but we’ll never know. Meanwhile, the other guys took tough losses but played great players. Proud of everybody, grateful for the opportunity for our local guys, and looking forward to two more days of great tennis in this terrific event presented by TheBANK of Edwardsville. And for them, we’re very grateful for their sponsorship.”

Tournament co-director Kirk Schleuter echoed Lipe’s thoughts on the tournament.

“You know, it’s been a great day today,” Schleuter said. “We had some wonderful play from international and collegiate players, as well as some of the best local high school players, and it’s been really great matches up and down the line up here.”

Schlueter agreed that the play has been of a very high caliber.

Article continues after sponsor message

“Yeah, you know, the level of play out here has been really high,” Schlueter said. “We have probably the best guy in this tournament, if you look at rankings, a guy who plays number one at the University of Michigan, an All-American, a great player. We’ve got a guy who plays high in the lineup for Baylor. The level here is just really high, so it’s great that our great sponsors like TheBANK of Edwardsville are able to give us the money that we can bring in this high level of play over and over again.”

In the two matches that were in progress but were eventually pushed back to this morning because of the rain, Scott Bickel of Winnetka, Ill., led Shayan Najam of Reston, Va., 5-3 in the first set, while Kyle Johnson of Charlotte won the first set over Tom Bickel, also of Winnetka, 6-1. Tom Bickel led in the second set 3-2 when the rain halted play.

In the only first round match of the day, Andrew Bower of Alton defeated Booker 6-0, 6-0. In the first part of the second round matches, it was Jibril Nettles of Detroit over Simon Kauppila of Chesterfield, Mo., 6-0, 6-1, Matias Soto Cammona of Copiapo, Chile, who plays for Baylor University in Waco, Tex., defeated Leonardo DaSilva of O’Fallon 6-0, 6-1, Andrew Cahn of West Bloomfield Township, Mich., defeating Weiler 6-2, 6-2, and Lipe winning by default over Robles.

Meanwhile, David Metz of Palm Harbor, Fla., won over Max Skaer of Belleville 7-6. 3-6. 10-5, Kristopher Ortega of Homer Glen, Ill., winning over Jack Lunn of Lake Forest, Ill., 6-0, 6-1, it was Benjamin Rosen of Port Washington, N.Y., over Trimpe 6-3, 6-0 and Vuk Budic of Chicago, who plays for the University of Illinois, defeated Harbour Acosta of Arlington, Tenn., by the score of 6-0, 6-1.

In the last of the matches to be completed, Jason Kerst of Ann Arbor, Mich., who plays collegiately at the University of Iowa, defeated Jonathon Higham of Edwardsville 6-3, 6-1, it was Alex Knight of Miami, who plays for Michigan, defeating Blake 6-0, 6-0, Fletcher Scott of Olathe, Kan., over Ian Landwehr of Daleville, Ind., 6-4. 7-5. Ian Deiters of Indianapolis over Parker Hearne of Roscoe, Ill., 6-4, 6-4, Catalin Fifea of Bucharest, Romania, who plays for Xavier University of New Orleans, over Schreiber 6-1. 6-2, and Sid Donarski of Montreal defeated Bower 6-0. 6-0.

The two matches yet to be completed will be played starting this morning at 8 a.m., followed by the Round of 16, with matches slated to begin at 8:30 a.m., and the quarterfinals starting at 1:30 p.m. The Round of 16 matches, in bracket order, are as follows: Knight vs. Deiters, Rosen vs. Kerst, Budic vs Seth Lipe, Ortega vs. Scott, Donarski vs. the Najam-Scott Bickel winner, the Johnson-Tom Bickel winner vs. Fifea, Cahn vs. Nettles and Metz vs. Cammona.

Schleuter is looking ahead to the next day’s matches, and thinks that the competition will continue to get stronger as play goes along.

“You know, it’s going to be really great matches again,” Schleuter said. “I know that, and the players know that. It’s going to be guys really wanting those main qualifying draw spots. They’re going to playing hard from the get-go tomorrow.”

Lipe is also hoping for good weather and great competition as the tournament progresses.

“I’m hoping for good competition, strong play and dry weather,” Lipe said.

Lipe also thanked Schleuter and his intern, Shelbee Sterthman, for their help during the opening day.

“Just excited to continue to get through these days,” Lipe said., “and grateful for the help from Shelbee and Kirk. Had a lot of help from the school district, and things are going well.”

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

More like this:

Mar 20, 2024 - Edwardsville and Alton Battle In Boys Tennis, Both Teams Show Great Promise For 2024 Season

Apr 15, 2024 - Lilly Gilbertson Posts Three School Records: Griffins Girls Capture Sam Bennett Invite Title, Boys Are Third At Staunton Meet

Feb 28, 2024 - Dave Lipe: Edwardsville's Tennis Titan Inducted Into Coaches Hall of Fame

Feb 17, 2024 - Three Local Wrestlers To Compete For State Titles In Champaign-Urbana

Feb 1, 2024 - Wood River's State Farm Shootout To Host Some Of State's Best Basketball Programs And A Great Rivalry