TAMPA, Fla. – Despite losing their season opener at No. 37 South Florida 6-1 on Tuesday afternoon, the FGCU men’s tennis team came away with something to be proud of. Playing at the number one singles position, Thibaud Aime defeated Jamal Adderley, the 64th-ranked singles player in the nation, 6-0, 4-6, 10-8.
Aime (Figeac, France), who was a second team All-Atlantic Sun selection as a junior last season, got off to a blistering start, winning the first set 6-0. After Adderley won a hard-fought second set, 4-6, Aime battled back to win the tiebreak, 10-8. “I know TT (Thibaud) has been working hard preparing for this season, and that hard work started to pay off today,” head coach J. Webb Horton said. “He played a consistent match, as did most of our guys, and he came out with a quality win over a nationally-ranked opponent.”
Matthew Rock (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), playing in his first match as an Eagle, lost at the number two singles position to Mark Oljaca, 6-3, 6-1. But playing number one doubles, Rock and Aime defeated Thomas Estrada and Romain Derrider, 8-7. The Bulls took the other two doubles matches to earn the doubles point.
“I thought we came out and competed well against the defending Big East champions,” Horton said. “Playing some matches against Florida State and Illinois last weekend really helped prepare us for a very tough USF team.” Florida State (13th) and Illinois (15th) are both ranked in the top 15 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
Another newcomer, Sebastian Leitz (Nimes, France) fell in a tight match at number three singles to Derrider, 6-4, 7-5. Mitchell Lvovsky (Dania Beach, Fla.) lost his first match as an Eagle as well, 6-2, 6-3, to Estrada at number four singles.
Steve Binninger (St. Augustine, Fla.) and freshman Collin Brown (Tallahassee, Fla.) were each defeated in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, at the number five and six singles positions, respectively.
Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Tallahassee for a one-day tournament on Saturday, January 23. Florida State will play Georgia Southern at 9 a.m., followed by FGCU taking on South Alabama at 11 a.m. The two winners of those matches will play each other in the championship, and the two losers will play in a consolation match. Both the championship and consolation matches will take place at 3 p.m.
The Eagles open up the home portion of the 2010 season on Saturday, February 6, when they host Stetson. That will also mark the first A-Sun conference match for the Eagles. Play is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the FGCU Tennis Complex.