MSU's Baron seeks national title
TOP DOG n Mississippi State's Marco Baron celebrates after he won his singles match against Southern Methodist's Genius Chidzikwe in the 2001 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. AP file photo
Special to The Star
May 24, 2001
ATHENS, Ga. Mississippi State men's tennis standout Marco Baron has earned the top seed in this year's NCAA Singles Championship, which begins today at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Baron is one of several favorites to take this year's national singles title, along with defending champion Alex Kim of Stanford, who is the No. 2 seed. The MSU senior will open play in the tournament against Southern Cal's 37th-ranked Ryan Moore in today's first round at 9:30 a.m. CST.
Baron, currently ranked second nationally, becomes the second Bulldog ever to hold the tournament's top seeding, joining three-time, all-American Thomas Dupre' who held the top seed in the 1997 NCAA field. As a top 16 seed in the 64-player event, Baron has also earned all-America honors in singles for the third time during his storied MSU career.
The 2001 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year also enters the NCAA Singles Championship playing the best tennis of his days as a Bulldog. He has won 19 of his last 20 matches and is now 22-4 overall this season, with eighteen of the victories coming over nationally-ranked players, 12 in the top 50.
Joining Baron in the singles draw is Bulldog Romain Ambert. Currently ranked 22nd nationally, Ambert has been one of the top rookies in the country this year. Named the Region III Player to Watch by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Ambert, 27-10 overall this season, will take on Erik Scharf of St. John's at 12:30 p.m. CST Thursday in the first round.
Baron and sophomore Chris McDonald are also in this year's 32-team NCAA Doubles Championship. The 21st-ranked MSU pair will open play in that draw Friday, facing Duke's 22nd-ranked duo of Phillip King and Ramsey Smith at a time to be announced.
In addition to daily updates on MSU's official athletic site, www.mstateathletics.com, MSU's play in the 2001 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships can be followed on the web at www.ncaachampionships.com.