"What a great day for the ETSU program," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "With Enrique winning and Sebastian again earning another point on the ATP Features Tour this afternoon, I couldn't be happier with the history that was made today. I've taught our players to work as hard as we can each day and try to develop this program into one that is recognized around the country. Coach (Dave) Mullins did an outstanding job building such a wonderful tradition at ETSU and it's been 16 years since a player like Enrique came along and accomplished this type of success in two straight NCAA tournaments. I know as a program we recruit hard and want outstanding student-athletes both on and off the court and what a fine example of that in Enrique we have representing ETSU at this tournament."
After both Olivares and Sayer held serve for the majority of the first set, the ETSU senior captain rallied past the four-time Big South Player of the Year breaking Sayer's server after a number of long deuce points to take a 6-5 lead. After Sayer rebounded with three straight points in the 12th game, Olivares would settle down forcing the Radford senior to play out the set's third straight deuce point game. After four straight split points to send the game back to deuce, Olivares blasted back-to-back shots across court for the set at 7-5.
"In the first set neither player played extremely well," said Zaatini. "Overall, this match featured 23 deuce points and both players played defensive early from the baseline trying to hit the right shot in the right situation. Martin is a great player from Radford and is well coached. He's a bit under ranked and we knew coming into this match what type of respect we had for him as a player. I think the turning point mentally for Enrique was breaking Martin's serve in that 12th game. That allowed Enrique to build some momentum as we head into the second set. "
As set two opened Sayer jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, before the two-time Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year rebound by taking the next five out of six games for a 5-3 advantage. Sayer held serve to make it 5-4, before Olivares had his first chance to serve out the second set and the match.
After quickly jumping out to a 30-15 lead, Sayer landed his last point of the match placing a perfectly placed drop shot to make it 30-30. After Sayer returned Olivares serve to the back of the baseline, the ETSU senior ripped a strong forehand down the line to take his first match point at 40-30. Olivares then blasted home a strong serve, which Sayer hit wide out of bounds giving Olivares the match and his second straight appearance in the NCAA Singles Round of 32.
"Overall, the goal is to survive and advance and Enrique did that today," said Zaatini. "You feel horrible for a player like Martin, who had an outstanding career at nearby Radford. This was a tough draw for both players and I have great respect for both him and Enrique, but at this level when you step on the court you goal is to win and move on to the next round anyway you can and fortunate for us today Enrique did that."
Overall, Olivares joins Zaatini as the only two ETSU men's tennis players to win NCAA Singles Championship rounds in consecutive seasons. Olivares will now face the winner of
2009 NCAA Singles Championship (George Mitchell Tennis Center,
Round of 64
Enrique Olivares (
For more information on ETSU men's tennis and Enrique Olivares run in the NCAA Singles Championship please visit ETSUBucs.com.