TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Playing its second match in as many days, the FGCU men’s tennis team’s attempt to rally from a 3-0 deficit fell just short as the Eagles dropped a 5-2 decision to UAB on Sunday.
The match began with doubles play, as sophomores Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS-FL) evened the doubles score at 1-1 with an 8-5 victory over David Zimmerman and Tom Puetz at the No. 1 spot. Zimmerman and Puetz defeated No. 32 Florida State’s top doubles tandem on Saturday.
With the doubles point still up for grabs, sophomore Michael Beiler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Dunedin HS) and junior Gabe Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) locked into a tough match with Rafael Rondino and Luiz Felipe Pinto at the No. 3 slot. The match went into tie-breakers, as Beiler and Echeverry came up just short, 8-7 (5).
The Eagles trailed 3-0 after the Blazers took a pair of singles points at No. 1 and No. 4, but Beiler got some revenge after his tough doubles loss with a straight-set 6-4, 7-5 victory against Lucas Dirube at No. 5 singles.
Each of the three remaining singles matches went three sets, but UAB was able to take two points despite being behind after the first set in two of the three spots. Bao (No. 2) and Echeverry (No. 6) both took the first set of their match, but dropped the final two for the final two UAB points. Junior Dean Tsamas Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) did the opposite, as he fell 6-2 in the first set against Chris Helliar at No. 3 singles, but battled back with a 7-5 win in the second set and a 6-2 edge in the deciding set.
“Today was a disappointing result because we were right there,” said head coach C.J. Weber. “We had much better energy today and we’ll use that going into tomorrow’s match against Florida A&M. It’s the beginning of the season, so we always have to look to build each day and each match.”
FGCU will end its three-match opening weekend in Tallahassee on Monday when it takes on FAMU at 11 a.m. Fans can get updates on FGCU men’s tennis on twitter by following @FGCUMensTennis.
No. 73 UAB 5, FGCU 2
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 5, 6, 2, 3
1. David Zimmermann (UAB) def. Vives (FGCU) 7-6 (8) ret.
2. Rafael Rondino (UAB) def. Bao (FGCU) 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3
3. Tsamas (FGCU) def. Chris Helliar (UAB) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
4. Tom Puetz (UAB) def. Lvovsky (FGCU) 6-4, 6-4
5. Beiler (FGCU) def. Lucas Dirube (UAB) 6-4, 7-5
6. Luiz Felipe Pinto (UAB) def. Echeverry (FGCU) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. Vives/Bao (FGCU) def. Zimmerman/Puetz (UAB) 8-5
2. Helliar/Dirube (UAB) def. Lvovsky/Tsamas (FGCU) 8-4
3. Rondino/Pinto (UAB) def. Beiler/Echeverry (FGCU) 8-7 (5)