Boise State's Andy Bettles set for NCAA men's tennis singles tournament (UPDATED: Bettles loses)

The BSU junior will face USC's Hanfmann in the men's singles first round Wednesday.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comMay 22, 2013 

Andy Bettles

COURTESY OF BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

UPDATE: Bettles lost 6-2, 6-4 to USC's Yannick Hanfmann in the first round of the NCAA men's singles tournament, ending his season with a 30-10 record.

Andy Bettles already was inspired to perform well in the NCAA men's singles championships - then he heard who he would face in the first round.

Bettles (30-9), a junior at Boise State, will face USC sophomore Yannick Hanfmann at noon MDT Wednesday during the first round in Champaign, Ill.

The two faced off March 26, 2012 in Los Angeles, with Bettles winning the first set 6-4, followed by Hanfmann winning 7-6 (4) and 11-9 in a tiebreaker for the victory.

"We had a great match," Bettles said. "I was really excited when I saw the draw. Our games play well against one another. I remember I had a few match points, so I'm definitely looking forward to going against him again."

Bettles (30-9) is No. 40 in the latest ITA singles rankings, five spots ahead of Hanfmann (28-6). The 11th player in Boise State history to reach the NCAA singles tournament, Bettles hopes to be the first since 2008 to win in the first round.

He also has a career goal to be the third singles All-American in school history, which would require at least two wins.

"That's definitely a goal of mine," Bettles said. "It's great to even be here, means all that work has been worth it, but it'd be a bit of a failure to come here and lose right away."

The Mountain West player of the year, Bettles also was 16-11 in doubles matches. The native of Somerset, England, has led coach Greg Patton to call him one of the best players in school history, with still another year ahead of him.

"He's an English bulldog," Patton said. "He's tenacious, he's relentless. I think he's shown a ton of maturity - he's totally connected with his goals and always has the team in mind."

Boise State lost 4-3 to Clemson in the first round of the NCAA team tournament on May 10. Bettles defeated the Tigers' Yannick Maden, ranked No. 26, 6-4, 6-1.

"I think the individual success is a byproduct of my team. They're the ones that push me every day, support me when I'm out there," Bettles said. "I'd rather make a deep run with those guys than as a singles player."

Having faced Hanfmann in the past, Bettles has a good idea of what to expect, a luxury atypical in the opening round of the singles draw. Even then, it is his first time at the tournament, and Patton had some advice for his standout, who he fully expects to return in the same place next season.

"The first time, I think guys tend to overplay," Patton said. "I just want to see the light go on and I want him to play his game, play to his ability - and he has a lot of it."

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn

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