FMU's Sharifi reaches No.1; Netters serve up a baker’s dozen

Dilshod Sharifi (Source: FMU)
Dilshod Sharifi (Source: FMU)

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University junior Dilshod Sharifi is ranked No. 1 in the nation among NCAA Division II singles players, while the FMU men's and women's tennis teams are both ranked 13th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II national polls released on Monday (April 5).

Francis Marion is one of 14 schools to have both its tennis programs ranked in this week's Top 25. The FMU women's were ranked fourth and fifth in the two previous polls, while the men were 15th and 14th.

Sharifi, a native of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, is 12-0 in singles play this year, and 51-3 in his three seasons. He has lost only four sets during the 2010 season, and owns three wins over Top 20 opponents. He is the first Patriot singles player to be ranked No. 1 nationally.

Teammate Oshada Wijemanne is ranked 14th in singles, while three Patriot Women are ranked nationally in singles play: senior Tereza Sykorova (#9), junior Jitka Gavdunova (#34), and junior Sabina Baberadova (#36).

Sharifi and Wijemanne are ranked sixth among doubles duos, while Sykorova and Baberadova continue to occupy the No. 2 spot among women's doubles teams. Gavdunova and freshman Mona Blauen are ranked 13th in Division II.

The 12-3 Patriot Women will play host to UNC Pembroke for a Peach Belt Conference match on Wednesday (April 7) at 3 p.m. on the Kassab Courts.

The FMU men are currently 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the PBC.

Both FMU squads will play at South Carolina State University on Saturday at 11 a.m. before returning home to host top-ranked and unbeaten Armstrong Atlantic State University on Monday at 2 p.m. The AASU men have won 44 straight matches, while the Lady Pirates have won 72 consecutive PBC regular-season matches.