EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville players Erik Weiler and Seth Lipe won their opening round matches as play got underway in the 2019 Pro Wildcard Challenge presented by TheBANK Of Edwardsville/Busey Bank Thursday morning at the Edwardsville Tennis Center.

Weiler won his opening match over Nico Papachrisanthou of Caseyville 6-1, 6-1, while Lipe advanced to the second round with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Matt Jansen of Washington, Mo.

There were only five matches played on the day, under sunny and warm conditions with low humidity and a calm breeze, as the tournament got underway.

“A very uneventful day, a very calm first day,” said tournament director and Edwardsville High tennis coach Dave Lipe. “Just five matches. We needed to get through the Round of 32, and so we had five matches to play today, and tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock, we’ll have eight Round of 16 matches, and then later on in the day, we’ll have four quarterfinal matches, and also some consolation matches. So, things really heat up tomorrow morning; today’s sort of the first day of 13 consecutive days of competitive tennis out here. The guy who won these matches today could win our whole tournament next Sunday, conceivably. You win today, you keep going, you win this tournament, you get into the (qualifiers). Qualify, you get into the main draw, you could win the whole thing. So today is literally the first day of our tournament. We’ve got a lot of guys in town, guys are practicing, the weather’s beautiful, we had fans out here watching today, we had good coupons from sponsors, and the players enjoy that. So like I said, McConnell is finishing up our last four courts over here, which will be available tomorrow, the parking lot is wrapping up, and we’re getting a new air conditioner unit at the high school, so there’s stuff going on all over the place out here. And we’re just part of it.”

The Pro Wildcard Challenge winner will qualify into the main draw of the ninth annual Edwardsville Futures tournament, which gets underway on Monday, and Lipe is very excited for the tournament and for the community support it receives.

“Absolutely,” Lipe said. “We expect to have a few more fans every day. And today, we had a handful of fans out here watching tennis, and every day, we’ll get more fans in, and hope to break all of our previous records for spectators, and we have a better base of community partners this year than we’ve ever had before, and we are very much looking forward to this week, and enjoying those partnerships.”

In the other three matches played on Thursday, Ian Deiters defeated Drake Schreiber of Greensboro, N.C. 6-1, 6-1, Max Skaer of Belleville won over Andrew Bower of Alton 6-0, 6-2, and Lazar Markovic of Locust Valley, N.Y. defeated Dominic Macaluso 6-1, 6-4.

The Round of 16 matches start this morning at 9 a.m., with feature matches including Lipe going against Anand Saluja, Weiler meeting Vasilios Caripi, Zach Trimpe playing Adrian Chamdani, and Skaer going up against Jason Kerst. The winners advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played at 1 p.m Friday afternoon, with the semifinals to be played Saturday morning, starting at 9 a.m. The championship match is set for Saturday afternoon, starting at 1 p.m. Consolation bracket matches are also slated to begin Friday morning.

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