Top-seeded Janda takes two-set win over Knapp

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY -- Classes are back in session at East Tennessee State this week. And on that school's tennis courts Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina standout Jonathan Janda took a fellow ACC player to school.
   Janda showed why he is the No. 1 seed on the men's side in this year's Little Caesars/ETSU/ITA Collegiate Tennis championships with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Virginia's Warren Knapp in Round of 16 action at the tournament.
   "I played pretty well," Janda said. "My forehand was on today."
   Janda felt like he had to earn the points, and force Knapp to make the mistake.
   "There were a lot of grinding points out there," Janda said. "The balls got kind of dead at the end. It was tough to hit winners."
   Janda is seeded first despite not making the top six on his team as a freshman.
   Janda wants that to change that next season.
   "I hope to be in the top six," Janda said.
   Janda was a little surprised to hear he was the top-seed, but is just taking it one match at a time.
   "I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself," Janda said. "I'm just trying to get ready for next season."
   The men's draw took a hit when No. 2 seed Jimmy Fairbanks from the University of Pennsylvania pulled out, but it opened the door for a former local prep standout to cash in.
   Former Science Hill star Mark Hossler was put into Fairbanks' slot. Hossler received a bye in the first round, then disposed Elon's Michael Surlak 6-3, 6-0 to reach this morning's quarterfinals.
   "It's a surprise," Hossler said. "Especially since three days ago I didn't think I would be playing in the thing. I e-mailed coach (Dave Mullins) the day before the tournament, and I said if he had any cancellations to throw me in there. It just so happens that I got the place of the No. 2 seed. So I got a bye, played well today, and all of sudden I'm in the quarterfinals."
   Hossler played collegiately at Emory University, but recently gave up playing college tennis. Hossler is still attending the school, and is majoring in physics.
   "I gave it up for other endeavors," Hossler said.
   Hossler now has become the Cinderella story of the tournament, and he would like to have one last thrill on the tennis court.
   "I came in and decided to go for everything," Hossler said. "I had nothing to lose."
   The three and four seeds are still alive. Third-seeded Steven Nolan from Virginia defeated Jonathan Clark of Charlotte 6-1, 6-2, while John Hangstaffer, the No. 4 seed from Chattanooga, won 6-0, 6-1 over Milligan's Adam Campbell.
   Hangstaffer's next opponent will be ETSU's Alejandro Salazar. Salazar took a 6-4, 6-4 decision over Davidson's Russ Burns.
   "It's going to be a tough match," Salazar said about facing his second Southern Conference opponent in a row.
   On the women's side, the top three seeds won fairly easy matches en route to earning a spot in today's quarterfinals.
   Florida State's Brooke Cordell breezed in a 6-0, 6-2 victory over a high school player, Davina Dishner of Hiltons Va.
   "I had to play well," Cordell said. "I can't just show up and win. I have to play well."
   Second-seeded Meryl Mekus from Southwest Texas State won 6-0, 6-0 over Unicoi County's Amber Campbell.
   Furman's Caroline Bentley, the tournament's No. 3 seed, defeated Science Hill standout Sheena Bharti 6-1, 6-1 in her first-round match.
   "I thought it was a good match," Bentley said. "I thought I played pretty well. This was my first match since playing the NCAA's, so it was good to play another match."
   A Furman lady won the tournament last season, as Megan Duningan took home the trophy.
   Bentley wants to make it two-straight for the Lady Paladins.
   "I'm going to try my best," Bentley said. "That would be great. It's going to be hard to accomplish, but I'm going to give it my best.
   Bentley plays ETSU's Jessica Irey next, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Autumn Lauzon from Bristol.
   Two other ETSU Ladies are still alive in the tournament. Gemma Halim won 6-3, 6-3 over College of Charleston's Lauren Stewart, and Aimee Villanicencio took a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Science Hill's Lindsay Mitchell.
   The quarterfinals began at 9:30 a.m. this morning. The semifinals are set for 1:30 p.m this afternoon.
   The Little Caesars adult division begins at 5:30 p.m. tonight. Those matches are being played at the Liberty Bell Tennis Center.