Stanford, CA (U-WIRE) -- In 2002, senior KC Corkery and junior James Pade lost in the first round of the National Indoor Championships to Texas A&M. But the pair was able to advance to the semifinals of the consolation bracket where it dropped a close 9-8 decision to the tournament's top seed.
This weekend - three years later - the Cardinal tandem returns to the Indoors in Columbus, Ohio with more experience, still entertaining the same hopes of bringing home the doubles title.
In 2002, Corkery and Pade qualified for the Indoors by winning the Regional Championship. This year, even before the Regional tournament, the duo qualified for the Indoors by advancing to the semifinals of the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Championships, where they lost to a team from Middle Tennessee State. The two Blue Raiders were the eventual champions and are the top-seed going into this weekend.
Corkery is all too familiar with the Indoors - the senior played in the tournament last season with recent graduate Sam Warburg. The pair advanced to the finals where it lost to a duo from Ohio State, 8-5. Corkery plans to make his third trip to the Indoors, while Pade makes only his second after taking the 2004-2005 season off.
In a draw with 15 other teams, Corkery and Pade kick off play tomorrow against Georgia's Strahinka Bobusic and Colin Purcell. The competition this weekend is stiff, as the draws are loaded with top-performers from the All-American team and winners and finalists from regional tournaments.
Corkery and Pade have not competed in a tournament as a pair since the All-American, but head coach John Whitlinger has confidence in their abilities.
"In an eight game pro-set, crazy things can happen, and we just have to play round by round," Whitlinger said. "KC and James have played together so much and know each other backward and forward. They're ready to go."
After an impressive run last week that ended with the Region 8 singles title, Corkery earned a spot in the singles draw of the National Indoors. Corkery, 7-1 this season, is seeded seventh going into Columbus. He is scheduled to face Texas A&M Corpus Christi's Raul Morant-Rivas - the finalist of the South Central regional tournament - in the first round.
While Corkery could potentially face top-seeded Ryler DeHeart of Illinois in the quarterfinals, Whitlinger emphasizes that the players should concentrate on each match as it comes.
"With a draw this size, the quality of play and the people who are in it, you must really have earned your way into this tournament," Whitlinger said. "You better just play the matches one at a time and not look past that first round."
In 2004, Corkery lost in the first round of the Indoors to Duke's Lodovic Walter 7-6, 7-6; however, Corkery bounced back to win the consolation bracket.
"Sometimes when you lose that first round, you get disappointed, but it shows me a lot when you can come back and win or do well in consolation," Whitlinger said. "I was really proud of how KC came through in that consolation bracket. I hope [the guys] don't get into [consolation], but if they do, I hope they handle it the right way."
Found in the second half of the 32-player singles draw is Cardinal freshman Matt Bruch. Like the Corkery/Pade pair, Bruch qualified for the Indoors based on his results at the All-American. There, the freshman made a stunning run and won seven matches in the qualifying and main draws before falling in the semifinals. Bruch's streak in his collegiate debut was halted by eventual All-American champion Georgia's John Isner, who is seeded second in he singles draw this weekend.
At the time of the All-American, Bruch checked in at 104th in the preseason rankings. But as the eighth seed in the Indoors, his competition should be gunning for him this weekend. The Stanford freshman is scheduled to face Oklahoma State's Tomas Bohunicky on Thursday in his opening match.
"I'm thrilled that [Matt is] seeded but now the pressure is on him to hold up his seeding," Whitlinger said. "It's a bit different going into this [tournament]. Before, Matt was sort of an underdog - now, people have noticed him, and that's a good thing."
(C) 2004 The Stanford Daily via U-WIRE