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Men’s Tennis

Alex Lebedev claims ITA National Summer Championship

| Thursday, September 14, 2017

On Aug. 12, Notre Dame men’s tennis junior Alex Lebedev took to the courts in Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the ITA National Summer Championship.  By Aug. 15, Lebedev, the 10th seed, emerged victorious, returning to campus for this coming season with his first collegiate tournament win under his belt.

Irish Junior Alex Lebedev rises for a shot during Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory over Northwestern on Feb. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Lebedev earned the second most wins on the team last season with 22.Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish Junior Alex Lebedev rises for a shot during Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory over Northwestern on Feb. 24 at Eck Tennis Pavilion. Lebedev earned the second most wins on the team last season with 22.

Lebedev competed in seven grueling matches across the four days.  These featured face-offs with three top-ten seeds, including a particularly difficult stretch in the quarter and semifinal rounds against the second and third seeds respectively.

After days of superb tennis, Lebedev found himself in the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center at TCU staring down No. 44 Alexandru Grigorescu of the University of Nebraska Omaha.  After a 6-3, 6-2 match, Lebedev came away as the champion, with top tennis players from across the country in his dust.

This marks a particularly exceptional feat from Lebedev, after having battled through injuries over his tenure at Notre Dame.

“Alex has improved so much throughout his time at Notre Dame.  He has worked extremely hard to add variety to his game, and he now brings a pretty diverse skill-set to each match,” Notre Dame head coach Ryan Sachire said. “In particular, his ability to manage points on defense and finish points at the net are skills that he has added to his all-around game, which in turn has raised his level significantly. In addition, Alex has made significant strides with his strength and fitness, and he has transformed himself into a good athlete on the court.”

Sachire said he hopes to see this upswing in Lebedev’s game carry into the fall season at Notre Dame. While Lebedev tied for the team lead in singles wins with 23 last season, struggles with injuries and consistency have so far kept him from his full potential. The victory at the ITA National Summer Championship may serve as a springboard to aid his performances to come.

“Most importantly, he took a huge confidence boost from winning a very high-level tournament,” Sachire said. “The feeling of conquering the field, especially a field of that quality, is a great one, and he can really use the confidence taken from that event to propel him into our fall season.”

Furthermore, this win has earned Lebedev a wild card bid into the upcoming Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships, held Sept. 30 through Oct. 9 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“The wild card that he earned into the main draw of the All-American Championships will enable him to compete against the very best players in college tennis,” Sachire said. “Obviously this tournament will be another great opportunity for Alex to measure himself against an elite field and build even more confidence for the rest of the year.”

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