Pair of Players Travel More Than 5,000 Miles to Play for Eastern

Jan. 10, 2007

A pair of foreigners in Nico Riego De Dios (Olongapo City, Philippines) and Gennady Yakubovskiy (Moscow, Russia) have joined the Eastern Washington University men's tennis program this season and are looking to contribute immediately.


Riego De Dios comes to Cheney with impressive results from Asian competitions. One is a second-place showing at the 2nd Phinma Group of Companies - Futures Foundation International Juniors Tennis Championships in the fall of 2005. The title match was going down to the wire before he had to retire in the third and final set.


In more recent competitions, he has participated in a number of tournaments throughout the world, playing in a total of 16 in the calendar year of 2006 alone. In total, Riego De Dios played in eight different countries on four different continents. He placed second at the Bangkok (Thailand) ITF Junior Championships and at the Easter Bowl - U.S. Closed Championships in Palm Springs, Calif.


"Riego De Dios will be an impact player for us," head coach Patrick Dreves said. "He will come in and play right away, has a just great work ethic and we are certainly excited to have him on here."


Yakubovskiy also has seen international action in a number of countries. He has competed in ITF tournaments in five countries on three continents, with his best singles performance coming at the 2005 Fergana Cup Qualifying Draw, as he advanced to the quarterfinals of the event held in Uzbekistan. In doubles play, he teamed with Achim Ceban of Moldova to advance to the final in the NBU Cup, also contested in Uzbekistan. The pair narrowly missed winning the championship, falling by 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 scores.


"Hopefully Yakubovskiy will step in and be a top-three player for us," Dreves said. "He had some great ITF (International Tennis Federation) results, winning some doubles events. He was recruited highly a couple years ago and then broke his wrist and has been on the comeback trail.


"Certainly both of those players will be great additions to our program."


Riego De Dios, Yakubovskiy and the rest of the Eagles open their 2007 schedule with a couple of ranked opponents. First up is the 66th-ranked Washington Huskies on Jan. 20 before a showdown with No. 58 Denver on Jan. 25. Both of those contests will take place on the road.


In total, Eastern Washington will play a 22-match schedule between Jan. 20 and April 13 before the Big Sky Conference Championship takes place in Sacramento, Calif., from April 27-29. The NCAA Tournament will run from May 11-28 with the finals taking place in Athens, Ga.

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