FORT MYERS, Fla. – As day three of the FGCU Fall Invitational came to a close, the FGCU men’s tennis team successfully protected The Nest as they picked up both the singles and doubles titles in the top draw for the second consecutive year. To start the day Jordi Vives (Barcelona, Spain/IES Ferran Tallada/USC) and Tianyu Bao (Tianjin, China/Bayshore HS) united to clinch the doubles draw before they returned to face each other in the singles final.
“This really isn’t something that we expected,” head coach CJ Weber said. “It’s always something that you hope for, to have representation in the finals. For us to take home both titles again was awesome, especially in such a competitive field against great programs.”
Soaring through the first two rounds of matches, Vives and Bao entered the championship match prepared to face NCAA D-II national contenders Barry’s Ahmed Tricki and Fabian Groetsch, who beat Lucas Vaz (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Fleming/Tulsa) and Dean Tsamas (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) 9-8 (3) one day prior. The match started off point-for-point, with each of the teams winning their serve. With the Bucs leading 6-5, Bao was set to serve looking to tie the contest. After dropping the first two points to fall behind 0-30, the Eagles came back to win the point after scoring four unanswered knotting the match at six each. The Green and Blue kept their momentum going as they broke Groetsch’s serve to lead the match. With Vives powerful serve on deck, the Bucs didn’t stand a chance to comeback as the pair from FGCU took home the doubles title with an 8-6 win.
Luckily for the one-hundred plus fans attending Sunday’s match, the entertainment didn’t stop when the double title was won, as both Vives and Bao continued on to play in the singles final.
After a short break the two returned to the court for one of the most exciting matches the team has seen this fall season. To start the Eagle vs. Eagle dual, Bao broke Vives’ serve to jump to an early 1-0 lead before continuing on to claim the first set 6-4.
The second set lived up to the hype as Vives took a 4-1 lead right out of the gate. Proving that he wouldn’t go down without a fight, Bao found the rhythm he used in the first set to make a tremendous comeback to lead the match 5-4. Truly exemplifying FGCU’s never-say–die attitude, Vives broke Bao’s serve to tie the set at five games apiece. The two continued to go back-and-forth until they reached 6-6, forcing a tiebreak. Continuing the call-and-answer tone of the match with a close the tiebreak, Vives went on to take set number two 7-6 (5).
The third set continued to go in Vives’ favor as he won 6-1 to take the match. The victory marks the second straight for Vives, as he won the singles title in last year’s fall invite.
“It feels great to win the tournament for the second year in a row,” Vives said. “Today we played a great singles match. Bao was playing amazing, some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play. This morning we won doubles, which was great for us and for the program.”
“It’s very hard to communicate how I feel,” Weber said. “On one hand I’m very proud of Jordi. He’s done amazing things for our program and represents us so well. One the other hand I’m disappointed for Bao. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play tennis that well like he did in the first two sets. He was out there having fun, interacting with the crowd and smiling, so a win for him would have been awesome.”
Four other Eagles picked up wins for the Green and Blue today in consolation matches. Gabriel Echeverry (Popayan, Colombia/Gimnasio Calibio) pulled out a thrilling three-set victory over Pete Thomason of Arkansas, winning 6-7 (6), 6-1, 10-4. Vaz claimed a 6-0, 7-5 win over Boston College’s Alexandre Thirouin while his doubles partner Tsamas took down Eudardo Alfonso of Barry 6-3, 6-1. Picking up the fourth win was Chris Perrigan’s (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay HS) 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Stefan Burnett from FAU.
The Eagles picked up a total 14 singles wins and five doubles wins this weekend. A video recap can be viewed here.
BLUE DOUBLES FINALS
Vives/Bao (FGCU) def. Triki/Groetsch (BU) – 8-6
BLUE DOUBLES BACKDRAW
Neuner/Meade (FAU) def. Tsamas/Vaz (FGCU) – 8-2
GREEN DOUBLES BACKDRAW
Alfonzo/Echenique (BU) def. Lvovsky/Perrigan (FGCU) – 8-6
BLUE SINGLES FINALS
Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) – 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1
GREEN SINGLES BACKDRAW
Gabe Echeverry (FGCU) def. Pete Thomason (UA) - 6-7 (6), 6-1, 10-4
Lucas Vaz (FGCU) def. Alexandre Thirouin (BC) – 6-0, 7-5
Dean Tsamas (FGCU) def. Eudardo Alfonso (BU) – 6-3, 6-1
GOLD SINGLES FLOATING MATCHES
Bernard Tefel (UM) def. Lance Lvovsky (FGCU) - 6-4, 6-4
Chris Perrigan (FGCU) def. Stefan Burnett (FAU) – 6-3, 6-4