FORMER ISLANDER TENNIS PLAYERS COMPETING IN PROFESSIONAL TOURS

Former Islander tennis players Mikhail Pavlov and Dmitry Novikov recently competed in the Peoria Futures tournament on the United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit and are competing in the 2010 Millennium Tennis Club $10,000 Men's Futures in Joplin, Mo. this week.

Last week, Pavlov won his qualifying draw before falling in the first round on the singles main draw while Novikov lost in the finals of his qualifying bracket to just miss out on the singles main draw.

In the qualifier, Pavlov received a bye in the first round and escaped with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 win over Nathaniel Gorham in the second round to reach the finals of the bracket. Once there, Pavlov dominated Anton Bettink, taking a 6-0 6-0 result to move into the main draw. In the main draw, Pavlov lost to Jean-Noel Insausti, the No. 4 overall seed in the tournament, by a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2) final.

Novikov was not quite as fortunate. He opened the tournament with a win over Texas Longhorn player Chris Camillone by a 6-3, 6-3 score in round one and move to the finals with a 7-6 (5), 6-0 win over Keith-Patrick Crowley in round two. Novikov lost a heartbreaker in the finals against the No. 2 seeded qualifier, Marvin Barker, by a 7-6 (1), 6-7(6), 6-4 final to just miss out on the main draw.

The two players teamed up in the doubles main draw, dropping a 6-2, 7-5 decision against the No. 1 seeded team in the tournament, Antonio Ruiz-Rosales and Maciek Sykut.

In the Millennium Tennis Club $10,000 futures this week, Novikov opened play with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Nathan Mann in the first round of qualifying. In round two, he pulled out a dramatic three-set win over Mico Santiago, coming from behind after losing an extended tiebreaker in the first set to win 6-7 (12), 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the finals against Joel Kincaid. Novikov came up just short in the finals of the qualifier on Monday, falling 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-5 against Kincaid.

Pavlov automatically qualified for the event after last week's performance and will begin singles play on Wednesday against Jean Andersen. Pavlov and Novikov will also play doubles together in the tournament with a first round matchup against the No. 3 seeded Adam El Mihdawy and Dennis Zivkovic on Tuesday morning.

"We're very, very proud of these guys, to have three Islanders currently on the professional tour represents the university pretty well," said Islanders Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "I think they're very proud of being Islanders and they stay very well connected no matter where they go, they've got a strong fan base cheering for them with their former coaches, teammates and university. "

In addition to Novikov and Pavlov, former Islander Andrey Kumantsov is on the ATP World Tour, the top tennis classification in the sport. Last week he lost in the singles final of the Austria F1 and moved up 23 spots in the world rankings. He was also part of the winning doubles team in the tournament to move up 20 spots in the doubles rankings.

Three years ago, Pavlov and Kumantsov won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Texas regional which consisted of every Division I team in Texas. That win qualified them for the Nike National Indoors at Ohio State. Each of the eight regions in America sent one team and the Islander duo went representing the Texas region.

"It's pretty exciting to follow them and see how they are doing," said Moore. "To see the pride they have in this school that they carry on to the pro tour with them is great."