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Luis Flores Named SEC Men's Tennis Player Of The Week
Bulldog senior recognized for SEC Indoor Singles Championship.
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Senior Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) of the No. 2-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team has been named the SEC Men's Tennis Player of the Week, announced the conference office Wednesday. Flores topped a field of 32 to win the SEC Coaches' Indoor Singles Championship last weekend in New  Orleans.
"Luis had a tremendous week and I think he is very deserving of this award," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "He continues to improve and certainly his return to our squad is going to have a very positive impact."
After taking the fall season off from collegiate tennis to play pro tournaments as an amateur, Flores returned to the Bulldog squad at the beginning of this semester. The SEC Indoor tournament marked his first collegiate action of his senior year.  After playing a crucial role in Georgia's 2007 NCAA Championship season as a junior, Flores showed no signs of rust as he won five straight matches in the Big Easy to capture his second SEC Indoor Tournament crown. He also won the 2006 doubles title with Matic Omerzel.
"It was really nice to be able to go out and win this tournament," said Flores. "I was working pretty hard in preseason before returning to campus and I am really glad to play to be playing for UGA again. I think we have an exciting season to come. This win and this award gives myself and my teammates a boost of momentum and confidence. A lot of guys played well and it was good to see the level that we are capable of playing at."
The No. 4 seed entering the tournament, Flores dropped only two sets during his championship run, both of which went to a tiebreaker. In his opening-round match he defeated Florida's Tyler Hochwalt, 6-4, 6-4, then topped #58-ranked Bram ten Berge of Ole Miss in the Round of 16, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3. In the quarterfinal round, despite playing his second match of the day, Flores was dominant with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Michael Venus of LSU.
Flores' semifinal match saw him matched up against one of his Bulldog brethren, No. 5-seeded and 17th-ranked sophomore Nate Schnugg (Medford, Ore.). After topping Schnugg 6-3, 6-4, Flores was pitted against Ivan Bjelica of Mississippi State in the finals. After taking the first set 6-4, he lost the second in a tiebreak, 7-6(2). The Bulldog senior captain showed his leadership and strength in the third set, responding under pressure to win the set by a 6-4 score, capturing the match and the championship.
In addition to his singles championship, Flores reached the doubles semifinal with fellow senior captain Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.).
Heading into the first dual matches of the season this weekend, Flores holds a 5-0 singles record with a 2-1 doubles mark. Currently unranked due to his absence in fall tournaments, Flores looks to return to the Top 10 in the ITA National Rankings. He finished the 2007 season ranked No. 9 in singles and No. 1 in doubles with John Isner, earning All-America honors for the second straight year.

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