PEORIA, Ill. -- The Tri-County Tennis Tournament kicks off this Saturday at Glen Oak Park.
This year's tournament brings back two competitors who are no strangers to each other.
It seemed like all the pieces were aligned for former Bradley standout Evgeny Samoylov to take home his first men's singles title this year.
The Russian native came up just short last year, after falling to his former Bradley coach Jesse Plote in the final.
"He's actually not playing, actually moving to another city," said Evgeny Samoylov. "That is why he is not playing. I actually played with him last weekend and he beat me again so I'm actually glad that he's not playing."
But Samoylov's good fortune didn't last, because this year, multiple title winner Jordan Nestrud is back.
"I think he won like 100 of them," said Samoylov. "I just hope he didn't practice hard enough."
Nestrud, a four time men's single winner, missed last year's tournament for a friend's bachelor party.
But he said this year's tournament is a whole different kind of party.
"We haven't played each other in a couple years so a lot has changed," said Nestrud. "He's obviously the favorite."
This year Nestrud is the two seed and Samoylov is the one.
"He played in this last year," said Nestrud. "He's in the best shape. He gave Jesse a better run than I did than I did a couple years ago. I may have beat him two years ago but a lot has changed since."
Back in 2010 Nestrud got the best of Samoylov in the title match.
This year Samoylov hopes his number one seed will translate into his first men's single title.
"It would be fun to play against Jordan in the final but I hope I don't lose like a 12 year old boy," said Samoylov.
There's no guarantee the two will meet in the final.
But Samoylov hopes to put up a good fight, in hopes of bringing home his first Tri-County title.