The men’s tennis team kicked off their 2013 campaign with a doubleheader Friday vs. Old Dominion and Lipscomb in their new home, the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
The Ken Byers Tennis Complex, which features six indoor courts and ten outdoor courts, was an addition made possible by Ken and Trish Byers and is located across the street from the similarly-new Hank McCamish Pavilion.
The Jackets inaugurated their new arena in style with a 5-2 win over Old Dominion in the afternoon match. Senior Juan Melian, sophomore Vikram Hundal, sophomore Eduardo Segura and freshman Nathan Rakitt all collected wins in singles competition. Tech swept the doubles matches in convincing fashion courtesy of the teams of senior Juan Spir and Hundal, Melian and Rakitt, and freshman Garrett Gordon and Segura.
Rakitt won his singles match easily in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, while Segura also won in straight sets with a 6-0, 6-4 victory. Having already won the doubles point, the Jackets had a 3-0 lead over Old Dominion. The Monarchs, however, made things interesting after upsetting Tech’s top player Juan Spir and Garrett Gordon in straight sets, making the match score 3-2.
Tech’s remaining singles matches, featuring Hundal and Melian, were nothing short of suspenseful. Hundal trailed 5-2 in the second set after winning the first set 7-6, but rallied with his back against the wall to not drop another game and win the set 7-5. With the overall victory over Old Dominion safely in hand, Melian fought back after a lackluster second set 1-6 to win in three sets, 7-6, 1-6, 6-1.
The Jackets had little time to rest before their 7:00 p.m. nightcap against Lipscomb. Tech swept the doubles matches for the second time that day, with wins by the teams Spir and Hundal, Melian and Rakitt, and Gordon and sophomore Colin Edwards, who saw very limited action in the fall 2012 season due to injury.
Tech’s doubles play sweep proved to be the deciding factor in this match. Melian, filling in the top singles spot for Spir (illness), had to withdraw from competition due to an ankle injury just three games in to his match. Hundal, Segura, and Rakitt all won their matches at second, third, and fourth spot, respectively. Segura was the only player of the three to take his match to three sets, but won his third set convincingly 6-1. Gordon and freshman Anish Sharma both lost tough-fought matches. Sharma, after winning his first set 6-4, dropped the next two 7-5, 7-5, making his opponent fight for every last point.
Tech’s underclassmen performed very well Friday, with Hundal, Segura, and Rakitt each collecting two wins in singles and five combined doubles wins.
The Jackets will head to Los Angeles, Calif. for the ITA Kickoff Weekend next weekend, a tournament consisting of players from Southern California, Fresno State and San Diego.