Strong singles play overcomes slow start in doubles
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 20, 2013) – Staring down its second straight loss to begin the 2013 season, the ETSU men’s tennis team came together to win four singles matches and defeat Oklahoma State, 4-2, on Sunday evening at Tennessee’s Goodfriend Tennis Center.
ETSU (1-1) put itself in an early hole, dropping doubles sets to Oklahoma State (1-2) by scores of 8-1 and 8-3 to go behind 1-0 in the match. In singles, the Buccaneers came out like a different team and took all six of their opening sets en route to taking four points and sealing the victory.
“The guys found a way to wake up and save some dignity,” Director of ETSU Tennis Yaser Zaatini said. “It was discouraging how flat we came out in doubles, and I think there is only so much a team can take. We started to show signs of life in singles. Every court was going after it and everybody was fighting hard. Of course, it will always look better when you’re winning, but at the same time there was a desire to come back and cut off how bad we were.”
The leaders of the comeback were sophomore Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil), senior Juan Ramirez (Asuncion, Paraguay), junior Roger Ordeig (Gurb, Spain) and sophomore Ricardo Pabon (Bogota, Columbia), who earned victories at No. 2, 4, 5 and 6 singles, respectively. Ribeiro earned the first win, nearly beating the Cowboys’ Chris Haworth at love, 6-0, 6-1, to even the match score at 1-1. Ordeig followed by cruising past Richard Del Nunzio, 6-1, 6-3, and Ramirez put ETSU ahead 3-1 with a 7-6, 6-1 win against Matt Campbell.
The first victory of the season was within reach, but put on hold when junior Jorge Varon (Valencia, Venezuela) lost in two close sets to Denys Pume at No. 3, 6-4, 7-5. The loss came to no avail for the Bucs, as Pabon wrapped up the win, 7-5, 6-2, against Oleksiy Arovin. Senior Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela) had his match left unfinished at No. 1 against Rifat Biktyakov, trailing 6-3, 3-6, 1-4.
With a win under the belt, ETSU heads to Columbus, Ohio on Saturday for a rematch with last year’s first-round NCAA Tournament opponent, No. 4 Ohio State, as part of ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Bucs will play either No. 65 Miami (FL) or No. 70 UL-Lafayette the following day.
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