URBANA — Ironman has nothing on Jarmere Jenkins. The Virginia senior on Friday played his 12th and 13th matches since the NCAA Championships arrived at Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex on May 16. That’s 13 matches in nine days.
“A little sore here and there,” Jenkins said, “but (I’m) taking care of the ice baths, taking care of the body, just doing the things I’ve been doing for the past week and a half now.”
After leading the Cavaliers to their first national team title, the third-ranked Jenkins has remained a fixture on the courts in the singles and doubles championship draw.
The path hasn’t been easy. On Friday in the round of 16 singles, Jenkins outbattled No. 16 Ray Sarmiento of Southern California 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-4.
“It’s been tough,” Jenkins said. “(Thursday) I played a really, really good competitor from Clemson (No. 26 Yannick Maden), and he made the match really physical. And (Friday) Ray came out and he was playing extremely well.
“We had a really close tiebreaker. After losing the first set that close, he kind of didn’t go away at all. He actually picked the level up a lot. Then the third set he picked it up even more. ... I’m just glad I’m able to keep playing well even though we’ve been out here a long time.”
After that marathon, Jenkins returned to the court for a doubles match against Mississippi State. Again, Jenkins found himself in a three-setter — he and partner Mac Styslinger prevailing after dropping the opening set.
Jenkins insisted he was holding up under the grind.
“This is what we train for,” he said. “Actually, this out here is the fun stuff compared to training.”
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The Big Ten will have two representatives in the quarterfinals of the men’s singles today. No. 12 Blaz Rola of Ohio State and No. 13 Evan King of Michigan remain alive. Both are seeded Nos. 9-16. In women’s singles, there is one Big Ten survivor: No. 11 Mary Weatherholt of Nebraska.
In doubles, there are two Big Ten women’s teams still playing: Nebraska’s third-seeded duo of Patricia Veresova and Weatherholt joining Illinois’ Rachael White and Melissa Kopinski.