Men’s tennis splits matches in Athens tournament

The No. 23 ranked Tech’s men’s tennis team traveled to Athens on Jan. 29 to participate in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend against No. 20 North Carolina and No. 47 Oklahoma State.
Tech’s tennis team was coming off back-to-back wins to kick off 2011 against South Carolina and South Carolina Upstate. The Jackets looked to continue their win streak and stay hot going into conference play. Tech worked its way to a draw in the tournament, losing to the Tar Heels, 4-3, and beating Oklahoma State, 4-2.
On the first day of the tournament, the Jackets struggled against a talented team from North Carolina.
The day kicked off with the doubles portion of the match up. Tech posted just a 1-2 record, with the only win coming from the team of seniors Guillermo Gomez and Dean O’Brien, who defeated the Tar Heel’s team of junior Cameron Ahari and sophomore William Parker, 8-5. It was the team’s first point it had lost on doubles the entire season.
Tech went on to split its singles match to end the day, with wins by sophomores Juan Spir and Magin Ortiga and junior Kevin King.
No. 48 ranked Spir had a back-and-forth match as he needed a tiebreaker to win the first set 7-6 (7-1). Spir performed much better in the second set as he easily took down No. 103 ranked Stefan Hardy 6-2 to win the point for Tech.
No. 13 ranked Gomez struggled in singles and dropped his match against the Tar Heels’ No. 30 ranked sophomore Jose Hernandez, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.
The second day of the Kick-Off proved to be much better for the Jackets as they swept the doubles matches to go along with a 3-3 split in the singles matches.
All three doubles teams posted impressive wins.
The first win came from Gomez and O’Brien, who defeated the Cowboys’ team of junior Eric West and freshman Tomas Patino, 8-2.
The second win was scored by seniors Eliot Potvin and Ryan Smith, who put down Oklahoma State’s Bains and senior Vlad Bondarenko, 8-5.
In the matchup of ranked teams, the No. 8 doubles team of King and Spir did battle with the Cowboys’ No. 9 ranked doubles pair of junior Aleksey Bessonov and freshman Rifat Biktyakov. The match went unfinished, but at the time it was called, Tech was leading 6-5, earning them the win on the scoreboard.
Tech’s first singles win came courtesy of Gomez, who beat Oklahoma State’s freshman Maniel Bains in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Tech earned two more wins, with King winning in three sets and Ortiga notching a victory after his opponent retired following the eighth game of their match.
Tech looks to post another win in their next match, as they take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 5 at home. That match begins at 1:00 p.m. They then play Georgia State at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tech’s top players will also look to continue to play at a high level leading up to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, which will be held Feb. 18 in Seattle, Wash.

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