NEW YORK - A pair of first-year players in Dragos Ignat and Eric Rubin will represent the Columbia men's tennis team this weekend at the USTA Clay Court Invitational at Disney hosted by Florida State. Play begins Friday, Nov. 2 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 4.
Ignat has had a great start to his Columbia career, playing to a 9-2 record in singles action this fall. The Bacao, Romania native took down Matt Spindler from Princeton to win his draw at the USTA BJK Men's College Invitational and then reached the finals of the Columbia Classic.
Ignat's first round opponent in the Gold Draw will be Panav Jha from Kentucky. Jha entered the season ranked No. 64 in the ITA national preseason poll, but has gone only 1-4 this fall competing at the Duke Fab 4 Invite and Ohio Valley Regional Championship.
Rubin has been equally successful during his first few months as a Lion, earning a 5-1 record. Rubin reached the finals of the Jadwin Draw at the Farnsworth/Princeton Invitational before injury forced him to withdraw. The Long Beach, N.Y. native also won a pair of matches at the Northeast Regional.
Georgia Tech's Nathan Rakitt will be across the net from Rubin in their Garnet Draw opening round match. Rakitt enters the tournament carrying a 6-2 singles mark this fall.
Ignat and Rubin will also play together as a doubles pair in the Gold Draw. As a doubles duo, Ignat and Rubin have a 2-1 record after winning a pair of matches at the Northeast Regional before falling in the round of 16. FSU's Jordan Kelly-Houston and Anderson Reed will be their opening round challengers. Similarly, Kelly-Houston/Reed have a 2-1 mark after playing as a team at the Southeast Regional.
Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. will serve as the tournament's home site, with Florida State hosting the event. Fans can find information regarding all of the draws HERE.