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UNCW’s emerging doubles tandem of Rafael Aita and Sam Williams head to the mecca of U.S. tennis this week to compete in the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean National King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
The USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, slated for Nov. 7-10, serves as the culmination of the fall college tennis season. Hosted by Columbia University, the event features a 32-player singles draw and a 20-team doubles draw for men and women.
Aita (Lima, Peru) and Williams (Bristol, England) punched their ticket to the ITA Nationals by completing an impressive unbeaten run in the ITA Carolina Regional at Cary Tennis Park last month.
The pair received a first-round bye and will face the winner of an opening-round match between Columbia’s Ashok Narayana-Max Schnur and Texas A&M’s Junior Ore-Jackson Withrow. Aita and Williams are guaranteed to play at least four matches in the national event.
“Anytime you have a chance to win a national championship it’s a special opportunity and a big step for Rafael, Sam and our tennis program,” said Mait DuBois, UNCW’s seventh-year head coach. “They’ve earned this opportunity with exceptional consistency in only losing one match together the last two semesters and advancing through one of the toughest regions in the country.
“They both really enjoy playing the best players and I know they’re looking forward to the opportunity. We will prepare as we always do and just stay focused on ourselves and what we can do to get better.”
Aita and Williams, the No. 2 seeds, defeated N.C. State’s Robbie Mudge and Sean Weber, 8-4, for the right to travel to New York. Aita and Williams knocked off opponents form Elon, Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and N.C. State en route to the regional championship.
This year marks the fourth consecutive year the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships will be held at the home of the U.S. Open.