WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 25, 2020) – The ETSU Men’s Tennis team used four consecutive singles wins to earn its first victory of the 2020 campaign, defeating No. 33 Penn State by the final score of 4-2 to cap off the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. The win over the Nittany Lions was the program's highest-ranked win since taking down No. 32 Alabama (4-2) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on May 15, 2010. This is also the highest-ranked win since Head Coach Martin Stiegwardt took over in 2017. With the win, the Bucs improved to 1-3, while the Nittany Lions fall to 0-2.
Penn State claimed the doubles point after winning two of the three doubles showdowns, including the decisive 7-5 win from the No. 2 position as Gabriel Nemeth and Alp Sentay upended Frazier Rengifo (Cali, Colombia) and Chris Mikrovas (Athens, Greece). The lone ETSU doubles win came from the Venezuelan duo of Miguel Este (Caracas, Venezuela) and Dimitri Badra (Maracay, Venezuela) after they bested Charl Morgan and Ismail Saadi, 6-2.
The Nittany Lions doubled their lead to 2-0 as Gabriel Nemeth upended Thiago Pernas (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in straight sets from the No. 4 singles slot (6-1, 6-2).
The Bucs picked up their first point of the match from the No. 2 singles slot as Rengifo earned his first singles win of the season. Following a narrow 6-4 win in the first set, the Colombia junior cruised to a convincing 6-0 win in the second set to pull ETSU within one. Rengifo’s win sparked four consecutive singles wins for the Bucs as ETSU flipped the script from down 2-0, to leading 4-2.
Yusuf Khamis (Cairo, Egypt) picked up the second point for the Bucs, improving to 4-0 on the season in singles play. Khamis trailed 5-0 in the first set, but stormed back to win 7-5. The Egypt native carried the momentum into the second set, fending off Christian Lakoseljac in the top singles position, 7-6(2) in the second set.
Este put the Blue & Gold on top, 3-2, after a straight-set victory of his own from the No. 6 singles position. Este dominated in the first set by a score of 6-2, before fending off Saadi in the second set, 7-6(6), to claim his second singles win of the young season.
The match was clinched from the No. 3 singles position after Juan Lugo (Maracay, Venezuela) earned a critical second-set victory to force a third set. After dropping the first set 6-2, Lugo responded with a 7-6(4) victory in the second set. The senior then carried his momentum into the third set, cruising to a 6-2 win and clinching the match for the Buccaneers.
Badra was leading 4-2 in the third set in his match before the event was called following the clinching victory from Lugo.
The Bucs are back in action on Friday, Jan. 31 when they travel to Salt Lake, Utah for a showdown against Utah at 2 p.m. (ET). ETSU will then turn around to take on BYU on Saturday, Feb. 1 in Provo, Utah at 1 p.m. (ET).
Match Notes: ETSU 1-3, Penn State 0-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,2,1,6,3)
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